Ladies, it’s time to get intimate with your breasts
You probably already know your two ‘sisters’ fairly well. Like their size and shape, which bras fit you best, or how they change as you undergo different stages in your life.
But here’s one reason why you should pay closer attention to them – breast cancer. The No. 1 cancer among Malaysian women. The ‘horror’ that causes tremendous suffering and drains away your life savings. For some women, this insidious disease can even result in the loss of a breast.
The best way to deal with breast cancer is through early detection. Women everywhere need to keep a close eye on their breasts and conduct regular self-examinations.
And that’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to spot the tell-tale signs of breast cancer. It’s fast, easy and you can do this in the privacy of your home.
Ladies, it’s time to close the doors, turn up the lights, take off your clothes and take a good look at your breasts.
Breast cancer clues
You’ll want to keep a sharp lookout for these cancer clues. Don’t panic if you spot any as they may be false alarms. But if you do notice any unusual, persistent changes in your breasts, see a doctor pronto.
Oh hello, what’s this little ball here
A lump is the most common first sign of breast cancer. It may feel hard, irregular in shape, tender or immovable, and does not go away with the menstrual cycle. Sometimes however, the lump can only be detected through a mammogram before it can be felt.
I have a giant pimple in my armpit
Cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes may manifest as lumps in your armpit. They are not usually painful but can be tender to the touch.
Whoa, my breast looks…big
If you experience an unusual change in the size or shape of a breast, it may be a sign of cancer.
Is my breast turning into an orange
Cancer may cause the skin on the breast to become thicker or puckered, which somewhat resembles the surface of an orange.
It’s getting hot in here
A cancerous breast may look like it’s infected with swelling, redness and warmness. It may also feel itchy at times.
Where are you hiding, nipple?
If your nipples suddenly become inverted, it may be time to see the doctor.
Why is my breast leaking
A spontaneous discharge from a nipple, particularly if it is clear or blood-stained, may be a sign of cancer.
How to examine your breasts
Performing regular breast self-exams will help you get familiar with the size, shape and look of your breasts. By knowing your breasts well, you would be able to easily spot any unusual and suspicious change. It’s best to check them a few days after your period and on a monthly basis.
Look at your breasts
Stand in front of a mirror in the positions shown below and look closely at your breasts. While it’s normal for one breast to be larger than the other, there should not be any sudden changes in size. Check for any rash, redness, swelling or puckering. Your nipples too should not look infected, and there should be no sudden inversion or unexplained discharge.
Touch your breasts
Lie down and place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. This helps breast tissue spread out evenly. Use the finger pads of your left hand to check your right breast. You can start at the nipple, moving outwards in circles around your breast, covering the entire breast area and armpit.
Increase the pressure as you move towards the back of the breast, making sure to keep constant contact so as not to miss a spot. Alternatively, you may prefer to perform this examination by moving in vertical lines all along the breast, from the collarbone to the bra line. You can also do this in the shower as wet skin makes this exam easier to perform.
Keep your breasts safe
Along with regular self-exams and medical screening, the best way to protect yourself is through health insurance. With the right medical coverage, you will have all the financial resources needed should cancer ever strike, leaving you free to focus on recovery without monetary worries.
Get the right protection with the AXA Affin CancerCare plan, which offers comprehensive cancer coverage that starts at only RM1.50 per day. Log on to www.110cancercare.com for a FREE quote today.