I saw this in The Stir - Have you made any of these self-exam mistakes?
If you're doing self breast exams, kudos to you. You're on the right track and doing one important thing you can do in the fight against breast cancer. But all self breast exams aren't equal (or helpful), and the chances that you're doing them wrong are pretty high.
It's not that they're that complicated, so if you're not doing them already, don't be intimidated. It's just that a few little things can make a big difference when it comes to their effectiveness. Here are five of the most common mistakes women make when performing self breast exams.
1. Your timing isn't right.
Exams should be done at the same time each month so that you can become familiar with what your breasts look and feel like at a certain point in your cycle. It's also suggested that you do them at the time your breasts are least likely to be sore or swollen, such as a few days after your period.
2. You don't take enough time.
It's not enough to do just a few quick squeezes. It's best to do a series of checks both standing up and lying down. The American Cancer Society has a comprehensive guide that provides step-by-step instructions. A thorough exam should take between 5 to 10 minutes.
3. You stop at your breasts.
You should also check your armpits and your entire chest area up to your neck.
4. You only look for lumps.
According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, other signs to look for include the following:
- Swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening of the breast
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- New pain in one spot that doesn't go away
5. You only do self-exams
Self breast exams should not be done instead of those performed by doctors. They should be done in addition to them.
Do you perform monthly self breast exams? What mistakes are you making?
Yes I do. I dont spend 5-10 mins, but I feel under my armpits, not up to my neck tho, just to where my boobs end, now to check to my neck. I do it multiple times a month cuz my friend found a lump at 20. Kinda makes u double and triple check often. I think I basically know my boobs very well.
Tho I wish I had a man. Hed enjoy checking everyday all day. LOL!!
by erikaysOctober 15, 2012 at 3:11 PMNot as often as I should :( I need to start weekly to get into a habit.
by Jules_October 15, 2012 at 4:34 PMSadly I don't. But I do breastfeed and that reduces your chances of cancer. The longer you nurse the more it reduces and I am on 106 months of nursing between five kids.
by CrazedMomof2October 15, 2012 at 5:11 PM
I do not.........
by mp3momOctober 15, 2012 at 6:50 PM
by Flaca43October 15, 2012 at 7:01 PM
I have done them...but admit that I haven't done them too much lately. I have had lumps and had to have mammagrams and ultrasounds for them. The last time though, I was pregnant with my youngest son and could not get the tests done because of my pregnancy. I have checked since...but am not able to tell because of breastfeeding...i don't know if there is a difference because of my milk production or not. I also wasn't able to get my medical insurance for a while, but want to go get checked by my dr now that I have insurance again.
I have made most of those mistakes though with examining myself. Thank you so much for this.
by Flaca43October 15, 2012 at 7:02 PM
I'm sorry it runs in your family. I'm so happy you fought it!! COngratulations!!
Yes I do! All sorts of cancers run in my family and I have already fought cervical cancer and won!