Breasts. Tits. Knockers. Boobs. Whatever you may call them, it’s essential to stay on top of their health. The American Cancer Society states that women have a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer is also the second leading cause of cancer death in women. That being said, there are plenty of ways to stay in the know about your breast health. One of the simplest being a regular self breast exam! The Johns Hopkins Medical Center states that 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by self breast exams. In addition to regular mammograms or thermal imaging (no radiation!), which can detect tumors usually before a self breast exam could, BSEs will help you stay in tune with your body, and develop an eye for anything unusual.
So, here’s everything you need to know about giving yourself (or your partner) a breast exam.
When: Once A Month
Mark it on your calendar + make time for a regularly scheduled self breast exam.
Where: Standing up, in front of a mirror, and lying down.
You can do these pretty much anywhere, but we recommend them in the comfort of your own home. (: The shower is a great place to start, then in front of a mirror, and lastly, lying down on the floor. This allows for you to see + feel any lumps in several different positions.
How: Use your hands (and your eyes!)
You want to use your fingertips to check for lumps on your breast, nipple, and armpit area. Begin inward at the nipple, and use light pressure to press on the nipple and outward to the armpit area in a circular motion.
Repeat this for both breasts, both standing up and lying down. This allows for you to feel the breast tissue in a more flattened state.
What to look for: lumps, hardened spots, knots, and abnormal discharge of the nipple.
Found a lump: Schedule a doctor’s appointment immediately! Better safe than sorry.
Know your options: When it comes to checking in with the doctor, know your options in addition to a standard mammogram! Thermography is a great alternative for women who want to avoid the radiation that comes with a mammogram.
According to Breast Thermography Tennessee, "thermography, also known as Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI), uses ultra-sensitive, high resolution camera and sophisticated software to measure infrared emissions (heat) that are constantly emitting from the surface of your skin producing a colormap of your body's health."
No painful compression
Detects early warning signs before a lump formation
Effective for women with dense breast tissue
Effective for women with fibrocystic breasts
Effective for women with breast implants
Effective for younger women/teens