Importance of mammograms and self inspection of your breasts
Breast cancer is among the most common types of cancers that affect women all over the world. Breast cancer can be treated if detected in the initial stages. Unfortunately though, a lot of women are still unaware about the basic steps that they can undertake to conduct the initial home exams and spot the warning signs.
October is Women’s Health Awareness Month and as a result, healthcare practitioners around the globe are urging people to spread more and more awareness about this breast cancer so that it can be detected early and thereby a lot of lives can be saved.
Conducting a self inspection of your breasts at home
There are 5 simple ways in which you can conduct an effective breast inspection at home. They are:
- Take a look in the mirror – Stand straight in front of the mirror while keeping your shoulders straight and your hands on your hips. Take a good look at your breasts. If you notice a change in the size of the breasts, in their color or if you find any rashes or patches, you should investigate further.
- Raise your hands – Next, raise your hands above your head and look for the same changes. If you see any change in appearance, fix an appointment with your doctor right away.
- Check for fluids – If you notice any unusual discharge of any kind coming out of one or both the nipples, see your doctor.
- Feel your breasts – Lying down, run your fingertips on your breasts. Make sure you cover every inch of the breast, from your armpit to your cleavage, feeling for unusual bumps or lumps
- Feel your breasts while standing up – Repeat the previous step, but this time while standing up. Again, you should be looking for any lumps or hard spots that were previously not present.
The importance of conducting a self test
It is absolutely vital for every woman to conduct a self breast examination. Even though most of us are not experts, a self examination gives you important basic hints about the overall health of your breasts.
Getting a mammogram
A mammogram is a test by which the cancer cells in the breast can be identified. A mammogram is a non-invasive method that, through the help of images similar to X-rays, identifies the cancerous cells in a woman’s breasts. It is a quick and a pain-free procedure and is considered to be the most conclusive and effective form of breast cancer detection. Though it is not a 100% accurate, it is still very effective.
The importance of getting a mammogram
Mammograms, in the last two decades, have reduced the number of deaths due to breast cancer by 35%. Physicians and caregivers around the world advice women, especially those over the age of 40, to get mammograms annually.
The process is pretty straightforward. Some women express concerns over the amount of radiation they are exposed to during an examination, but in reality, the radiation levels are so low that they really should be no cause for concern.
A mammogram can help identify a growing tumor inside a woman’s breast almost two years before she or her doctor can even feel it there. It is therefore absolutely vital to get annual mammograms, whether or not a woman has had a previous history of cancer.
It is important to get a mammogram even more so if you identify a problem while conducting a self examination of your own breasts at home. If you have any doubts, the mammogram can rule out all the abnormalities and put you on the path to recovery, if needed.
A mammogram is not a preventive tool and does not stop a cancer from occurring. However, it helps to identify potentially dangerous cells at an early stage.
So what are you waiting for? If you have not given yourself an examination or gone for a mammogram, you must do so right away. While it is true that breast cancer is hereditary, a lot of women with no family history are also affected. So be on the safe side and give yourself the gift of good health and practice good breast health habits.