Learning how to conduct a self-examination is the key to the early detection of any abnormalities or changes occurring in the breast. Self-examination can help to detect masses and other types of warning signs early, which contribute to the early detection of breast cancer. It is in no way a substitute for a periodic check-up or mammogram. points Blanco Erraes, Head of the Department of Maternity and Head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Service at Quironsalud Hospital in Marbella.
How to do a breast self-exam at home
Blanco Erraes notes that: the first stage will consist of a visual examination of the breast, in which we will look for asymmetry between both breasts, indurations or skin lesions. According to him, it also consists of two stages. At the first of these stagesWe will have to stand in front of the mirror, lowering our hands, and turn the torso one way or the other. to see if there are any lumps, redness, or orange peel-like texture, as well as dimples or eczema.
Then we raise our hands and put them behind the head to check the evenness of the contour of the chest. and that both rise equally.
The second step will be palpation, in which each breast must be palpated with the opposite hand. using your fingertips. To examine the right breast, we will place the right hand behind the head and, with the fingertips of the left hand, feel the breast, nipple, and armpit on the right side.
Similarly, Dr. Blanco states that Basically, three types of movements are used to conduct self-examination:
1. The first movement will start at chest center and made circular movements, covering the entire chest.
2. The second movement in zigzag vertical and then horizontal, from one side to the other, covering the entire chest.
3. And the third movement through gentle compressesoutside towards the central region and areola of the mammary gland.
4. we must not forget squeeze your nipples to check for fluid coming out, and also explore the armpits, in this case with the arms down; Most tumors occur in the part of the breast near the armpits.
What are the warning signs?
In many cases, breast cancer is diagnosed in an asymptomatic patient due to mammographybut in other circumstanceswe can detect various changes that may make us suspect the presence of a lesionTherefore, its appearance indicates the need to consult a specialist.
Among these signs are a mass or thickening in or near the chest, or in the armpits; A change of size, or according to the shape of the breast; a dimple or wrinkle in the skin of the chest; nipple that retracts from Mom
Other signals can be similar. discharge from the nipplen, especially if it is bloody; eczema on the skin of the nipple, it is not cured by topical treatment; red or inflamed skin on the breast, nipple or areola and dots on chest reminiscent of an orange peel (peau d’orange).
What to do if we find a lump in the chest
When we find a lump in the breast, the first thing we must do is to convey peace of mind to the patients, because It should be noted that 90% of the changes detected during self-examination are benign tumors.but in spite of this, Breast self-examination is the best way to fight breast cancer.
“It is very important that in the case of a positive breast self-examination, the patient consults with a specialist in order to request appropriate additional tests, as well as to be able to clarify and resolve doubts about the self-examination, as well as make a decision in case this is not the case. done right,” White Doctor adds.
When to Examine the Breasts and How to Prevent
It is recommended, the expert emphasizes, conduct self-examination of the mammary glands from the age of 20 and at least once a month.to find out what the breasts look like and to determine if there are any changes in their shape, texture, or consistency.
“Choosing a specific day for breast self-examination will help you better control and remember it, the best time to do it is more or less 3-5 days after the start of menstruation, these days the chest hurts and swells less often. If there is no rule, it can be done on a specific day of the month. It is important to periodically conduct self-examination of the mammary glands, ”he adds.
That said, Isabel Maria Blanco Erráez, head of the department of mammology and head of the obstetrics and gynecology service at the Quironsalud Hospital Marbella, argues that one of the aspects that they are trying to work on today is the importance of primary prevention and health promotion for all. at all levels.
“For breast cancer, there are some protective factors, such as early age at first pregnancy, as it provides more protection and reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Breastfeeding and its duration are also associated with this protective effect.. There is another series of modifiable risk factors that we can also act on as they are. limit alcohol consumption, avoid smoking, limit the use of hormone therapy, favor a healthy Mediterranean diet, and encourage exercise“concludes this breast expert.