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Education - Breast self-examination

Published: 31/07/2013

The least a healthy woman can do for herself is self-examine her breasts once a month. Self-examination should be performed from days 10 to 15, counting from the first day of menstrual period. During menopause, a woman should set a specific day in a month, and preferably, perform self-examination roughly on the same day.

Instructions for breast self-examination

  1. Lie on your back and place a pillow under your right shoulder. Put your right arm under your head.

  2. Press hard, but gently, with your fingers, so as to feel and get to know the structure of your breast. Remember how it feels, since it is important to recognize and feel always the same. It is normal to feel hard line in the lower semicircle of each breast.

  3. With your fingertips you should make moves which are shown on this diagram. You can choose between circular motion (A), up-and-down (B) or movements to and from the nipple (C). It is important to perform exam in the same manner, because in this way you will cover the entire breast, and it will help you remember how it feels under your fingers. 

  4. Do self-examination in the same way, feeling your left breast with your right hand.

  5. Additionally, self-exam of both breasts should be repeated in the same manner while you are standing, by raising one hand and putting it behind your head. In this way you will check upper part of your breast and the part towards your armpit more easily. Some changes can be more easily felt when the skin is wet and slippery, so it is recommended to do this step in the shower. 

    Each time take a good look at the skin of your breast and the nipple, noticing any kind of changes on them. 

Each time take a good look at the skin of your breast and the nipple, noticing any kind of changes on them.

In the USA they have been recording an increase in mortality due to breast cancer for decades, but at the same time they put all their efforts in development and implementation of treatment and raising of public awareness regarding self-examination, which has reduced number of cancer patients and led to greater treatment success. Situation is similar in Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and some other countries. On the other hand, in former socialist countries an increase in the number of patients with breast cancer has been noted. Unfortunately, it also includes Serbia, which forces us to think, not only at the level of the overall health protection, but primarily at the level of individual self-examination and better population awareness about breast cancer suppression.