EXAMINE YOUR BREASTS

 

 

4 MIN READ

  Image: @talkingvs

Image: @talkingvs

October is breast awareness month, so if it's been a minute since you gave your breasts some attention it's time to get reacquainted in the name of good health.

Here, Jocelyn from Talking V's, gives us the 411 on how to do a proper self-examination and what we should be looking for, and why it's so important we take the time to do it.

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Breast awareness means getting to know your own body and feeling comfortable assessing your breasts often so you'll notice any changes.

KNOW YOUR NORMAL

Every woman is different so it's important to recognise what's normal for you. Flat nipples, one breast larger than the other, lumps and bumps, time-of-the-month tenderness – pay attention, so if something's not quite right it'll be easy to spot.

FIRST, LOOK

Undress and find a mirror. Raise your arms so you are able to see everything from the top of your armpit, right underneath your breasts. Differences you might find that warrant a check-up:

  • Redness or a rash on your skin

  • If your nipple or breast is a different shape

  • If your nipple looks pinched, swollen, bulging or inverted (and it's not normally like this)

  • Discharge if you slightly squeeze your nipple

  • Visible change to the shape or size of the breast

NOW, FEEL

Breast lumps do not always form directly in the perkiest part of your chest. They can also form in your armpits and even up to your collarbone. To make sure you don't miss a spot, try this technique:

With one arm in the air, take the opposite hand and place it over your nipple. Begin to roll your flat fingers over your nipple in a clockwise direction.

Slowly move your hand outward from your nipple around your breast. Continue this motion until you've reached right into your cleavage, under your armpit and up your chest to your collarbone.

Once finished, repeat on the other side. 

You might feel more comfortable using shower gel or moisturiser.

Schedule a checkup with your GP if:

  • You find an unfamiliar lump

  • You're experiencing pain in your breast you wouldn't normally experience as a part of your menstrual cycle

  • You are able to feel a change in size or shape of your breast

WHAT ABOUT MAMMOGRAMS

A mammogram is a breast x-ray that can detect things we might miss during our own self-examinations.  

Mammograms aren't recommended for women under 40 because the difference in breast tissue density at a younger age means they're not so effective. In Australia, women over 40 are eligible for free mammograms.

WHEN TO START CHECKING YOUR BREASTS

The time is now – at least once a month.

If you menstruate, the best time to do it is a few days after your period. During your cycle, your breasts change with your hormones, so you may experience discomfort, swelling, or lumps and bumps before and during your period.

If you don't menstruate, pick a day in the month that suits you and put it on your calendar – for habit's sake!

If you're worried, do not hesitate to see your GP, and remind your friends to check their breasts once a month, too,  

For more information, visit Breast Cancer Network Australia or Pink Hope.

Need a demonstration? Watch and learn.

The full post originally appeared on Talking V's, and has been edited and republished here with full permission.

Follow @talkingvs on Instagram

Written by Jocelyn Clark

Read this interview in Issue #19