A lot of diagnosed breast problems – whether breast cancer or not – are usually first found out by the women involved themselves. They know their bodies best and as such, notice significant – and not so significant – changes early on. This is why it is very important that women conduct regular breast self-examination. During a breast self-examination, a woman may be able to find lumps which have developed over the years. Though lumps are not all malignant, or cancerous, early discovery is always an advantage.
It should be noted, however, that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC) do not perceive regular breast self-examination as compulsory. Indeed, even the American Cancer Society sees this as an option. If I were a woman, however, I would make sure to do this every once in a while just to be sure.
So how does one conduct a breast self-examination? It is basically checking one’s breasts for lumps or any other changes. This is done in different positions – standing, lying down, etc. – all the while looking at one’s breasts for any changes. The important thing is that if a woman finds some changes, such as lumps, she should immediately set an appointment with her doctor in order to get it checked.
Another important thing to remember is that even if you conduct regular breast self-examinations, you should not feel complacent. These self-examinations should not take the place of mammograms and regular check ups with your doctor.