If you periodically scan your breast, you can do a great deal of your own to help with the early detection of breast cancer. Among other things, pay attention to whether the size of a breast has changed, the “nodularity” of the breast increases at one point, or a painful area can be felt. Any of these changes or abnormalities should be shown to your gynecologist. Read here when and how to palpate your breast!
Why you should palpate your breast
Having a regular breast exam at home is a good way to feel breast lumps and other potential signs of a tumor. In fact, many breast cancer patients discover the malignant tumor in this way themselves – fortunately: the earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the chances of recovery!
Chest Breast: The right time
Every woman should check her chest regularly, preferably once a month. The optimal time for menopausal women is one week after menstruation begins. The breast is then especially soft. By the end of the cycle, however, the breast swells often under the influence of hormones. Then the glandular tissue feels harder or even nodular. Tumor-related changes such as nodules or indurations can then not recognize so well.
Women after the menopause should choose a fixed day of the month (about the first of the month) and best on the calendar. This way you can avoid them forgetting the chest scan.
Chest breast correctly: That’s how it works!
Give yourself enough time for self-examination of the chest and ensure a calm atmosphere.
The view in the mirror
Imagine sitting in front of a mirror (in good light conditions) with your upper body in the chest and looking at your breasts in different positions. First, for example, with drooping, then with arms stretched outwards, with upper body bent forward and with arms pressed to the hips. Examine the breasts from the front and from the side. Has anything changed since the last self-exam?
For example, abnormal changes may affect the shape or size of a breast. Suspicious are also retractions of the nipple or other skin areas on the chest. Also new protrusions, redness and an “orange peel” on the chest should be clarified by a doctor.
Chest breast while standing
Now you should systematically scan the chest with the palm of your hand: lift your right arm up to examine your right breast with your left hand and vice versa. Move your fingers slightly against each other as you play – you are effectively playing the piano on the skin. In this way, any knots in different depths of the tissue can be detected.
Begin by palpating the breast at its outer upper edge, then spiral inward to the nipple. Also carefully tap the nipple and gently squeeze it together: if liquid leaks, pay attention to color and texture.
Do not forget the areas in the direction of the collarbone as well as the armpit and the armpit itself during breast palpation.
Chest breast while lying down
Ideally, repeat the entire chest scan while lying down. Place a small pillow or a folded towel under your shoulder on the side of your chest you are about to examine. This makes the breast flatter and easier to palpate. In this position, you can especially examine the lower parts of the breast well.
The outer areas of the chest and the lymph nodes in the chest cavity can best be scanned in half-side position.
If you are scanning your chest for the first time, you might be startled because the fabric feels much more cuddly than expected. Especially young women often have a knotty, firm bosom. With increasing age, the body gradually replaces the glandular tissue with adipose tissue. Therefore, the breast is usually softer after menopause.
Bear in mind that not all areas of the breast are the same. Inequality is also prevalent in terms of the size of the two breasts: in most people, one breast is inherently slightly larger than the other.
Do not be frightened by palpable lymph nodes! There are many (and often harmless) reasons why they can be enlarged, such as an infection. Nevertheless, you should talk to your doctor about any noticeable changes.
If you regularly your Palpate chest, your individual “glandular landscape” quickly becomes familiar to you, and you can better recognize suspicious changes.