The Importance of Early Detection
Early detection of breast cancer has been proven to save lives, so it’s important to be aware and check your breasts regularly.
It is important that women of all ages understand the importance of finding and treating breast cancer early. Detection of breast cancer while it is still small and confined to the breast provides the best chance of effective treatment for women with the disease.
Self-examination is an important part of early detection. Many women, including the team of Be Uplifted Inc volunteers who work hard at our charity, have recovered from a cancer diagnosis and continue to lead happy, fulfilled lives. The benefits of early detection of breast cancer include increased survival, increased treatment options and improved quality of life.
Do you know the signs to look for?
Every woman’s breasts are different so self-checking your breasts regularly is important. It is the best way you can determine what is normal for you, and means you will notice if something is not quite right.
The signs and symptoms to look for that may indicate an unusual change in your breast?
- Lumpiness or a new lump
- Changes in breast size or shape, especially if it is only in one breast
- Nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
- A change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling or puckered skin
- Changes to your nipple, such as crusting, ulcers, redness or inversion (pulled in)
- Any unusual or ongoing pain in any part of the breast that does not go away
- If you find a change that is unusual, don’t wait and see. Make an appointment with your doctor immediately.
It’s never too early to start being breast aware and it’s important to keep up the habit, even if you’re having regular mammograms. You don’t need to be an expert or use a special technique to check your breasts. Take the time to get to know the normal look and feel of your breasts as part of everyday activities like showering, dressing, putting on body lotion or simply looking in the mirror. Knowing what is normal for you will help you to detect any new breast changes.
An easy 3 step breast check
Self checking your breasts is important even if you are having regular screening mammograms, as breast cancer can develop in between mammograms. There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts, no special technique to use and no right time of the month to check. Just check your breasts wherever and whenever works for you.
Here is one method to try
Stand in front of the mirror with your bra off and your hands on your hips. Look closely at the shape and appearance of your breasts and nipples and skin also.
Now raise your hands and place them behind your head. Are there any changes in the shape of your breasts? Did they move in symmetry? Again, don’t forget the nipples and skin. Finally, either standing or lying (lying down is best) feel each breast for lumps.
Use the opposite hand to the breast you are checking. Make sure you can thoroughly exam the breast by putting the arm closet to the breast under your head and rolling towards the opposite side. Place your four fingers flat and gently pat the breast area. Don’t forget to check the nipple and armpit area.
Early detection of breast cancer saves lives.
As well as having regular mammograms, it is essential to carry out a self examination of your breasts regularly and going immediately to see your doctor if you feel or see a change that is not quite right.
Download Be Uplifted Inc’s easy breast check guide and stick it by your mirror to remind yourself of the signs to look for.
Need more help? Watch this video from Cancer Australia