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Friday, June 3, 2011

Breast Self-Exam

Without exception, I have a complete physical every year. I would never dream of skipping it. My 'yearly' is what caught the pre-cancer cells, which lead to a complete hysterectomy at the age of 34, before it was full blown cancer.

Why then, do I only have my breasts checked at my yearly? Why do I not take a proactive role and self-check every month? Do I not know how much cancer cells can spread in a year? What am I thinking???

In case you find yourself in the same situation as I do, and really not sure how to do a self exam, here is an easy three step process:

1. In the shower
*With fingers flat, move hand gently over every part of each breast.
*Use right hand to examine left breast, left hand for right breast.
*Check for any lump, hard knot or thickening.

2. Before a mirror
*Inspect your breasts with arms by your sides.
*Next, raise your arms high overhead.
*Look for any changes in contour of each breast; a swelling, dimpling of skin or changes in the nipple.
*Then rest palms on hips and press down firmly to flex your chest muscles.
*Left and right breast will not exactly match--few women's breasts do.

3. Lying down
*Put pillow under right shoulder.
*With fingers flat, press gently in small circular motion; then squeeze nipple.
*Check for discharge and lumps.

If you are not currently conducting a monthly self breast exam or getting an annual physical, I urge you to! It's up to you to take a proactive roll in your own health and well being.


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