This blog is about self breast examinations. Why are they are they so important and how do I do them? Do I have to still do self breast examinations after I have had a mastectomy? Yep, you do!
A little history on me. I never did a self examination, NEVER. When I finally met with my surgeon to go over my game plan for fighting my breast cancer, he did an examination and asked me how I have done them in the past for myself. I explained that I never did. He was shocked. But wait, wait a sec, I have a really good reason!! I had fibrous tissue and all I could feel were lumps and bumps. So there was no reason for me to do them because I wouldn't feel anything anyway.
The short story was that I was WRONG! He explained to me that if you have tissue like that, really what you are looking for is any change to what is your normal. He said that if you touch your hair everyday, styling it, blow-drying it, brushing it, you get to know your hair really well. Now imagine that one day, you feel a small section of your hair that the texture is totally different. Like having super straight hair and finding a section of really curly, or vice versa. You are looking for a change. Okay, that makes perfect sense. Wish I had done self checks, but instead of worrying about something that I can't change, I'm going to try with all my might to help others!
So here we go, lets dive into SELF BREAST EXAMS
#1 VISUAL CLUES
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Okay so lets start with a visual check. The organization Worldwide Breast Cancer has done such a tremendous job with their Know Your Lemons visuals I am going to leave it to them.
Okay so there it is. Those are some of the symptoms that can show outwardly on those that have breast cancer. Of course, if you have one of these symptoms, it DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER. I just means it is something to check with your doctor about.
So, since I had breast cancer I bet you are wondering which, if any, I had. The only symptom I ever had was a retracted nipple. I didn't have a lump that I, or my surgeon, could feel. My cancer was caught very early from a mammogram and lumpectomy.
#2 FEEL IT ON THE FIRST
COP A FEEL
I think it is so important to FEEL IT ON THE FIRST. That means, that the first day of each month, you do a self breast exam. I used to think it was a once a year thing, but no, monthly is best to catch something early. So, how do you do that?
Again, I will leave it to those better than me. Here is a super cute video showing how to do a self exam. Of course, using a hunky male works better that a nude woman!
So there it is, do self checks, do them once a month, let your doctor know if you find anything suspicious. Please feel free to add your comments to this blog. I would love to hear from others on how they found their cancer, and what they do to keep checking themselves.