October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
You should monitor your breasts all year round for anything unusual, and you should see your doctor if you are having any breast pain – but October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a good reminder to perform self-exams once a month. Read on for some tips to help you perform a breast self-exam.
Every woman should have a discussion with her doctor about breast exams and how to do them properly, but here are some things to keep in mind:
• You should check your breasts after your period has ended so that they aren’t swollen or tender.
• You should continue to do self-exams even after you go into menopause.
• For the visual part of the exam, stand in front of a mirror, first with both of your arms raised and then with your hands on your hips. Check to see if your breasts look different than they usually do. Check for any dimpling, redness, or puckering, and note the color, size, and shape. Check for any signs that the nipple is inverting (pushing inward instead of outward). Check for any signs of fluid coming out of the nipples.
• You should also feel your breasts, both while you are standing up and when you are lying down. Many women find that a good time to do this is when they take a shower. Use a circular motion on each section of the breast, about the size of a quarter. Don’t forget to check the sides and the area underneath.
• If you do find a lump, try not to panic – most women have some lumps in their breasts all of the time. There are other reasons, besides cancer, to have a lump. However, just to be safe (and for your peace of mind), make an appointment with your doctor right away for a professional exam.
Monthly breast self-exams are an easy way to make sure you remain healthy. Breast cancer that is caught early increases the odds of successful treatment. This October, make a commitment to perform a self-exam every month! And if you have any questions or concerns, contact Women’s Health Medical Group. Call (817) 345-5336 to schedule an appointment today.