BREAST EXAM DEFINITIONA breast exam is the self-examination of your own breasts to see if it's healthy and doesn't contain any lumps that may indicate the presence of a malignant cancer or tumor. Although this test was once essential in early detection of cancer, it's nowadays merely optional.
BREAST EXAM PURPOSEDoing regular checkups of your breasts and memorizing their tactile sensation will allow you to know immediately if there are any changes to them. By not knowing the appearance or feel of your breasts, you won't be able to know when lumps or distortions appear.
BREAST EXAM RISKSThere are no risks involved when doing the self-examination of your breasts save of course the emotional and psychological impact of finding a lump there, plus the stress of consulting your doctor in case it is indeed the sign of a cancerous growth.
BREAST EXAM PREPARATION REQUIRED
Pick a time during your menstrual cycle when your breasts are the least sensitive. Otherwise, pick a certain day of the month. Keep a notebook in order to record your observations in regards to your breast shape, size, and texture.
Image: BREAST EXAM
Image: BREAST EXAM
BREAST EXAM PROCEDUREVisually examine your breasts. From there, use your hands to check your breasts for any changes or lumps. You can do this lying down or on the shower. Use the pads of your fingers and use different pressure levels (light, medium, and deep) as well. Examine your nipples for discharge. Remember to take your time and don't rush. You're better safe than sorry, after all.
BREAST EXAM COMPLICATIONSThere are no complications associated with a breast exam. Since there's no penetration of needles or drawing of blood or tissue samples, it's something that's relatively safe, harmless, and easy to do.
BREAST EXAM SIDE EFFECTSThere are no side effects to taking a breast exam. There's no pain or possible complications associated with it either, save of course the risk of overestimating the benefits of such an exam. If you feel pain after a breast examination, consult your doctor immediately.
BREAST EXAM RESULTSFinding lumps in your breasts is no reason to panic, because many of these are benign and part of the normal changes in your breasts. However, contact your doctor if you find the following: Bloody nipple discharge, itching, scales, sores, rashes, inverted nipples, dimples, puckers, bulges, ridges, sudden changes in breasts (color, size, shape or texture), thickening or fullness that's different from the surrounding tissue, and a hard knot or lump near your underarm.