Breast Self-Examination (BSE) Before It’s Too Late
Windowofworld.com – Breast self-examination (BSE) is done using hands and vision to check whether there are physical changes in the breast. This process is carried out so that all changes that lead to more serious conditions can be dealt with immediately.
It is important to realize what the normal shape of the breast is and whether there is a change over time. Breasts generally will feel different during menstruation. Before and during this period, most women felt that their breasts would become firmer and denser. Entering menopause, the breast will feel more loose and soft.
But there are certain changes that need to be watched out because it can be an indication of disease. Breast self-examination generally aims to find out the normal shape of the breasts, realize the presence or absence of changes in the breasts, and so that any changes can be consulted immediately and not too late to be handled. With early breast detection, many women have survived breast cancer.
How to check breasts?
The best time to do breast self-examination is a few days after your menstrual period ends. During menstruation, hormone levels fluctuate, causing changes in the body, including breast tightening.
There are several ways to carry out checks. You can choose according to your convenience.
1. In front of the mirror
To do a BSE examination, you need hands, eyes and mirrors. Stand in front of the glass, undress from the waist up. Make sure there is enough lighting in the room and do the following.
- Watch your breasts. Most women do not have breasts of the same size (the right breast is bigger or smaller than the others).
- Stand with your arms at your sides. Pay attention to the shape, size, and whether there are changes such as surface and skin color, as well as the shape of the nipple.
- Put your hands on your waist and press hard to tighten the chest muscles. Pay attention to the breast while looking in the mirror from left to right and vice versa.
- Bend in front of the glass so that the breast extends downward. Pay attention and touch to check whether there are certain changes in the breast.
- Link both hands behind the head and press inward. Pay attention to your two breasts, including at the bottom.
- Check if there is fluid coming out of your nipples. Place your thumb and index finger around the nipple, then press down gently, and watch for any discharge. Repeat with the other breast.
2. When bathing
You can also check your breasts while bathing. Soapy foam will facilitate hand movements to check for lumps or changes in the breast. Raise one hand to the back of the head. With the other hand covered with soap, feel the breast on the side of the raised hand. Use your fingers to gently stroke parts by section. Do the breast on the other side.
3. Lie down
BSE examination can also be done by lying down. Choose a bed or other comfortable flat surface. When lying down, the breasts become wider and easier to examine.
- While lying down, place a roll of towel or small pillow under your shoulder. Place your right hand under the head. Coat your left hand with lotion and use your fingers to feel the right breast.
- Comparing breast like clock surface. Start the movement from the 12 o’clock point to the number 1 with a circular motion. After one circle, slide the finger and start again until the entire surface of the breast until the nipple is palpated.
No need to rush when checking. Ensure that all breast surfaces are palpated carefully.
Things to consider when and after doing the examination is to remain calm if you find changes in the breast. Despite having to stay alert, most physical changes do not lead to cancer. Further tests are needed to diagnose the disorder. Most breast lumps are also benign tumors that are not cancerous.
If there are changes
These breast lumps or changes can be caused by many things. However, only a few that lead to serious illness. About 1 in 10 lumps in the breast are cancerous. However, cancer that is treated too late will have a very serious effect. Therefore, consult a doctor immediately if you find in an independent examination:
- Hard lump in the breast or armpit.
- Changes in the surface of the skin: skin becomes wrinkled, or there are hollows.
- Changes in breast size and shape, especially when you lift the breast or move the arm.
- Fluid coming from the nipple, but not breast milk.
- Blood from the nipple comes out.
- There are parts of the nipples that turn red and become moist, and never change into what they were.
- Nipples change shape, for example by being inward.
- Rash around the nipples.
- There is ongoing pain or discomfort in the breast.
Clinical breast examination may also be needed to determine whether the lumps and causes of breast changes are early signs and symptoms of breast cancer. The examinations that can be done include physical examinations by doctors, and supporting examinations such as: mammogram, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound. If there is a suspicion of cancer, the doctor may recommend a biopsy.
Check your breasts more often if you have reached 50 years or more, or if there is a family history of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Examination to detect the potential for cancer also needs to be done regularly so that abnormalities in the breast can be identified early.