When and how to examine your breasts?
A very important element of early diagnosis of breast lesions is self-examination performed by the patients.
When is the best time to examine your breasts?
In the case of menstruating women, it is best to perform the test a few days after the menstrual bleeding. It can be any day of the month after the menopause. It is important to check your breasts regularly, preferably every month.
How to do a breast self-examination?
We watch them in three positions:
1) with the hands lowered along the body
2) with the hands on the hips
3) with the hand behind the head, towards the opposite shoulder blade
There are several points to pay attention to in each setting:
– breast contour, including its symmetry, the presence of concavity / convexity
– skin appearance: presence of 'pimples’; orange peel; discolouration
– the appearance of warts – change of the current appearance, for example, pulling in previously raised warts; it is also worth paying attention to the possible leakage from the nipple
– the appearance of the armpits, subclavian and supraclavicular areas
The second stage of self-examination of the breasts is palpation. We make them with a flat hand (opposite hand to the examined breast). This test should be carried out in the same 3 positions of your body as mentioned earlier on the occasion of viewing the breasts. With large mammary glands, you can also examine yourself in the supine position, but also with the opposite hand in relation to the trunk.
On your own, it is the most accurate and at the same time most likely to perform this examination in a circular motion, starting from the nipple, and then clockwise further and further to the armpits. Remember to examine the entire breast, slowly moving your hand in small intervals so as not to overlook any area. During the examination, possible changes in cohesiveness, the presence of lumps, soreness when touched, or any differences between the two glands should be assessed.
After examining the breasts, you should also palpate the armpit and collarbone area – whether there are any lumps, thickening, puffs, etc.
The last stage is the examination of the nipples – the presence of any leakage when they are pressed; when they are 'pulled in’ is it possible to 'pull them out’; and whether there has been a change in their consistency compared to the previous test or the other breast.
Despite the many details that you should pay attention to when doing self-examination, it only takes a few minutes after getting into practice. On the other hand, the benefits of an early detection of a lesion are the chances of a complete recovery!
When to see a doctor?
Always in case of any doubts in the study, or when we do not know how to properly perform it. Of course, each patient can perform such an examination for the first time at the doctor’s office. This will allow you to gain practice while maintaining the correct technique.
Why is it worth it?
Every woman should remember that she knows her body best and that she is the one who is able to detect any abnormalities in the breast as soon as possible.
Each lady can be her own first and best doctor! An early diagnosis is an early implemented – i.e. the most effective treatment!
If you have any questions or concerns, we are always happy to help and provide advice.