Self Breast Examinations: Getting to Know Your Boobies
How comfortable are you with your boobies? I mean really comfortable? If you breast feed, or have breast fed in the past, I am sure you read books and did research on how to breast feed. So you mastered that art, but it was uncomfortable and you were unsure of yourself to start with.
Do you know how to examine your breast for lumps and bumps? Do you think you’re too young to worry about it? My youngest breast cancer patient was 18. Honestly. Many campaigns and educational resources are available to guide you through this new, but important process. Just like breast feeding, once you get the hang of it you will be a pro!
Moving Past the Fear of Breast Cancer
Let’s start with the fear factor. Once you begin to examine your breasts monthly, you may find a few lumps and bumps. Most types of lumps and bumps are noncancerous. Noncancerous breast lumps can be cysts, fibrocystic changes, adenomas, lipomas, and changes in feel due to hormonal issues. These noncancerous lumps still need to be checked out by your health practitioner just to be on the safe side.
Scheduling Monthly Breast Self Examinations
Next, go ahead and schedule your monthly breast self-checks. Schedule this right after your cycle so you aren’t checking while all the crazy hormones are doing their thing and wreaking havoc on your body. The breast tissue often feels different during this time. Pregnancy and other hormonal issues can also affect the breast tissue.
So you will get really great pictures and detailed instructions, I found a great free site and they do a great job of walking you through a self breast examination (SBE). This site is www.breastexams.net. If you scroll down the site, on the right you will see all the headings about different examinations, and then the SBE. I found this site to be very thorough and accurate. Most lumps are rubbery and easily. For the most part you will find these lumps to be the cyst types. The hard, non-moving lumps are
usually more of a concern.
The message I am trying to deliver is to become comfortable with yourself. The reason this is so important is while you may have lumps and bumps, you will get to know your lumps and bumps. (of course double check by your practitioner that these are OK lumps and bumps) When you find a lump and bump that is not normal for you; the process of early detection has begun! I cannot emphasize enough how important early detection is. Keep the lines of communication open with your practitioner so you will feel free to discuss these new findings with him/her.
I guess you are wondering why you don’t have yearly mammograms under the age of 40, right? The breast tissue is just too dense for the mammogram to accurately penetrate the tissue and view a cancerous lump. Ultrasounds and biopsies can be utilized with suspicious lumps and bumps. So, get to know your boobies. The life you save may be your own!Joyce Harrell, RN, OCN is an Oncology Registered Nurse and Wellness Coach. Joyce provides education and workshops on a variety of subjects relating to the health and wellness of cancer patients and their families, as well as the general public. Joyce practices integrative care, which is adding (not replacing) integrative therapies to conventional medicine. She can be reached through her website at http://www.poweruphealthcoaching.com.