Did you know that October is global Breast Cancer Awareness Month? It is an annual campaign aimed at raising awareness about the effect of breast cancer globally. Mammograms are the best way to detect signs of breast cancer at an early stage to get early treatment before it spreads. However, in Kenya, not every person can afford mammograms; hence doctors recommend women to self-examine from time to time.
Although mammograms help you detect breast cancer before the appearance of a lump, self-examination enables you to be conversant with how your breasts feel and look so you can alert your doctor if you notice any changes. Here, we reveal step by step process on how to conduct breast self-examination at home:-
Always conduct breast self-exams once a month, 2-3 days after your periods.
Raise your hand and examine your breast and armpit.
Use your fingertips with massage oil or shower gel.
Move your fingers to and from the nipple checking in sections.
Move your fingers up and down.
Move your fingers in a circular motion.
Examine for changes in skin colour or texture.
Examine for dips and lumps in the mirror.
Examine for nipple dips, colour change, or leaking.
Do breast self-exams monthly. Additionally, find out from your parents if any of your close relatives have had breast cancer. If they have, ensure that you get a complete examination done by your doctor ten years before the age at which they had cancer. Nonetheless, if you detect a lump, please do not panic. Sometimes, not all lumps are cancerous- it can be due to hormonal changes. Your doctor will help advise you accordingly and the way forward.