Breast cancer is not exclusive to women. Though much rarer, men can suffer from it, too.
Ignorance isn’t always bliss. And prudishness is best shelved when it comes to your health.
Make it a habit to regularly check if your breasts are ‘normal.’ Why? It can save you years on your life, thousands in your bank account, and the unforgivable stress from knowing your days are numbered.
Avoid breast cancer by nipping it in the bud. That is only possible if you know how.
What is normal?
It is important that you already know what your breasts look and feel like when normal. (If you don’t, it is high time you do!) Normal, in this regard, mostly implies symmetry. Look for abnormal features in one breast not present in the other. However, if you find the same symptom in both breasts, do not ignore. Breastfeeding moms need to be able to recognize what is not a harmless side effect of breastfeeding.
When is a good time?
Examine your breasts at least once a month to check for any deviation from the normal.
- Preferably a week after your period: This is when your breasts won’t be overly sensitive, swollen, and tender, making the examination less uncomfortable.
- On a date you can easily remember: If you suffer from irregular periods, have started menopause, have undergone a hysterectomy, or are breastfeeding mom, this schedule will not work for you. In which case, set an easy-to-remember date to do your monthly self-exam. The first of the month is easy to remember for most people.
- When your breasts are empty: If you are nursing a child, it is best you conduct the examination after a feeding or pumping session so that fluids don’t mask any symptoms and you face less discomfort during all the poking and prying.
Breast tissues change throughout your menstrual cycle. It is important that you are consistent with the date you decide to self-exam so that comparisons are more relevant. The shower space would be a convenient time and place (especially for prudes) to conduct this life-saving self-examination. The lubrication from the soap makes the process less uncomfortable, too.
In a nutshell, here are the ‘out-of-the-normal’ symptoms you should look for.
Give your jubblies a thorough exam with these steps…
Remember to use the pads of your middle three fingers and not the tips when scanning for lumps.
No check marks on this list?
We’re not trying to convert you into a hypochondriac or a constant bag of nerves, but don’t be relieved just yet.
It could be a false negative. While a self-exam can be life-saving when symptoms are present, the absence of symptoms does not mean you are breast cancer free. Irrespective of the conclusions you draw from your self-exam, you are advised to get routine mammographies done (especially if you’re on the wrong side of 40) as some cancers may not have progressed to the point of physical detection.
If you know what causes it, you’ll be able to reduce your risks.
Science says (in it’s all-knowing tone) that breast cancer, like all other cancers, are triggered by DNA damage. The exact cause is yet to be identified. However, certain risk factors predispose you to the disease. Being overweight or an alcoholic or having a family history of breast cancer increases your risks of the disease. Busting a popular myth, the presence, type, or fit of a bra is not correlated with breast cancer in any way. Wear your bra stress free.
Stay one step ahead by taking precautions to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
Breastfeeding decreases the risk of breast cancer. This is bad news for the not-wanting-to-be-moms women of today.
If you do notice any of the symptoms, stay calm and proceed to the next step.
Get yourself checked ASAP.