In enriching you, we know that staying healthy goes a long way. It is almost unlikely for you to make out time to read Willows when your health is hanging in the balance. Here are a few steps from Abike Ajayi to help you stay cancer free.
Get to know how your breasts look and feel. Check for any changes from what is normal
Check just as your period ends every month. If you do not have periods, check your breasts the same day each month.
If you see or feel any changes, tell your doctor or nurse right away. Go for regular breast exams and ask about getting a mammogram.
• Look at your breasts while standing in front of the mirror for any changes from normal. Observe any changes in size, shape, contour and nipples. Look at your breasts in these four steps:
• Hold your arms at your side.
• Raise your arms over your head.
• Press your hands on your hips and tighten your chest muscles.
• Bend forward with your hands on your hips.
Note that slight difference in size of the right and left breast is fairly common and does not signify abnormal changes.
• Lie down on your back with a pillow under your right shoulder.• Feel your breasts while lying down.
• Use the pads of the two or three middle fingers (do not use the finger tips) on your left hand to check your right breast.
• Move your fingers gently over every part of your breast
• Press down in little circles in one spot. Use light, medium and firm pressure.
• Keep doing this in an up and down pattern.
• Make sure you cover the whole breast area – from your armpit to the breastbone, and from above your collarbone to the bra line
• Repeat on your left breast using your right hand.
• Remember to check under the armpit, under the collar bone and over the breast bone
• Feel for any hard knots, lumps or irregular thickening.
• Gently squeeze the nipple to see if there is a discharge.
You can repeat these steps while you bathe or shower. If you do not have a shower use soapy hands or talcum powder on your breasts to help your fingers glide smoothly over your breast.
What to look for:
• You may see a change in the shape or feel of your breast.
• You may feel a lump. It can be any size.
• You may notice a swelling in any part of your breast.
• The skin on your breast may dimple, or look red, scaly or irritated.
• Your nipple may pull inward, look red or scaly, or have a rash.
• There may be a new pain in one spot that does not go away.
Note that some have inverted nipples and this is normal.
What you can do:
• Learn what is normal for your breast.
• Tell your health care provider right away if you notice a change in the way your breast look or feel. Tell your health care provider if you have a family history of breast cancer.
• Have your doctor do a yearly breasts exam and a baseline mammogram at age 40. Individuals who have a mother or sister with a diagnosed breast cancer are advised to have mammograms earlier.
• Check your breasts every month seven to ten days after menstruation has begun. A doctor or nurse can show you how.
Or go to www.komen.org/bse or www.breastcancer.org to read more and see how it is done. It is easy to perform; takes only a few minutes and is very important to your health.
Willows Magazine... Nurturing young people to excel