Breast Self-Examination (BSE) is a technique in which women check their breasts on a regular basis to discover any unusual swelling or lumps and seek early medical assistance.
Breast cancer is among the most likely reasons for cancer death in women. The overall prognosis of this condition is heavily reliant on early discovery and medical intervention. Breast cancer prevalence has risen significantly throughout the years and continues to rise rapidly. Breast cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms at first.
However, as the tumor grows, symptoms such as a painless lump in the breast, a lump under the armpit, breast soreness, swelling or thickening of the skin over the breast, and uncontrolled discharge of the nipple appear. BSE is a simple, affordable, and risk-free way of screening for the same.
Techniques used for early detection of breast cancer.
- Breast self-examination (BSE),
- Clinical breast examination (CBE), and
The last two, on the other hand, need a visit to the doctor and the use of special tools. Breast self-examination is a simple, quick, comfortable, confidential, cost-free, and safe method that requires no special equipment.
Steps for breast self-examination
- Stand in front of a mirror, naked on your upper body, and press your hands behind your head. Examine your breasts for changes in form, color, and size.
- Examine the skin for dimples or “pushing in” of the nipples. Examine your nipples for scaling or a rash.
There are 3 different methods of physical examination.
- Circular method,
- Wheel spokes method, and/or
- Grid method.
While examining your breasts, be sure to use the fingertips of your 3 middle fingers.
Use the hand that is opposite the breast being examined. Begin by pressing the flat sections of your second, third, and fourth fingertips into the outermost top of your breast. Work your way toward the nipple by making little circles around your breast. Firmly press to feel underlying tissue and gently press to feel tissues beneath the skin. Make certain that you completely cover the breast without leaving any gaps. Do the same for the opposite breast.
“Wheel spokes” method
Begin at the top of the outermost breast. Press the flat parts of your fingertips against your left breast, first toward, then away from the nipple. When you’ve finished that portion, move your fingers a little to the next place and repeat the procedure all the way around your breast. Do the same thing for the opposite breast.
Begin at the breastbone in the innermost part of the breast. Press firmly and gently down your breast with the flat portions of your fingertips. Slide your fingers up your breast, then down, and so on, until you’ve explored the entire breast area. Do the same thing for the opposite breast.
It is critical that you select the method that is most comfortable for you and apply it each month. Whatever approach you use, be sure you don’t miss any parts of the breast. Assess the previous examination for lumps, thickness, or other changes.
These physical steps can also be conducted while:
- Lying down
- In the shower
Changes in the breast
If you notice a lump or change in your breast, such as nipple discharge, textural change, dimpling of the skin, or “drawing in” of the nipple, you should consult your doctor.
Eighty percent of all lumps discovered are benign (non-cancerous) cysts or benign masses. The cause of the alteration can only be decided by your healthcare provider.
Don’t delay if you observe a change in your breast tissue. Consult your doctor straight away, even if you’ve recently had negative mammography.
Breast cancer awareness must be raised by addressing identified barriers. This includes involving spouses, family, and the general public in order to have a beneficial impact on breast self-examination practice.
Women must be encouraged to check their own breasts and discover any changes as early as possible. Women everywhere must band together to aid one another. The way forward is to provide information about the importance and technique of BSE and to set an example for others to follow as healthcare professionals, Indians, and women.
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