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Breast Cancer: How to Conduct a Self-Examination at Home? 5 Steps to Know

Knowledge is a key weapon to immunize yourself against the advanced stages of the disease. Breast self-examination is a discreet but essential activity that women should practice to receive treatment in time, if necessary.

Breast cancer is one of the main causes of death in women (Freepik)

Every time a public figure is diagnosed with an illness, a great stir is created around it. There is a sudden increase in the rate of searches about the disease. Similarly, when actress Hina Khan announced on Friday that she is currently battling stage three cancer, several people are trying to gather as much information as possible about it.

Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of breast cells that later form tumors. If not detected in time, it can spread throughout the body and be fatal. “Breast cancer cells begin inside the milk ducts and/or milk-producing lobes of the breast. The earliest form (in situ) is not life-threatening and can be detected in early stages. Cancer cells can spread to nearby breast tissue (invasion). This creates tumors that cause lumps or thickening,” the World Health Organization (WHO) stated.

Awareness about the symptoms and understanding the importance of breast self-examination is the need of the hour.

5 steps for breast self-examination at home

India.com got in touch with Dr Vikas Goswami, Director, Medical Oncology at Max multi-speciality centre in Noida, to understand how women can try self-examination at home. Performing a breast self-examination is a relatively simple procedure that can be done in the privacy of your own home. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Step 1: Choose a time: Choose a consistent time each month, preferably a few days after your menstrual cycle.
  2. Step 2: Visual inspection:Stand in front of a mirror with your arms at your sides. Look for changes in the size, shape, or texture of the skin.
  3. Step 3: Raise your arms: Raise your arms above your head and notice the same changes.
  4. Stage 4: Lie down: Lie on your back and place a small pillow or folded towel under the shoulder on the side you are testing. Use the opposite hand to palpate the breast in a clockwise circular motion, covering the entire breast area.
  5. Step 5: Check your armpits: Don’t forget to examine the armpit area as well. Pay attention to any lumps, thickening, pain, or unusual changes. If you notice anything unusual, see a healthcare professional for further evaluation.
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Here are some steps to perform a self-exam at home. However, if there are still doubts, it is always best to have a doctor examine you. This is generic information about the routine, but a proper diagnosis can only be made by a medical professional. However, it is important to have the proper knowledge to do an examination and rule out other possibilities.

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