According to the statistics presented by the Singapore Cancer Society, Breast Cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer among women in Singapore. Each year, over 1,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and over 400 die from the disease. 1 in 11 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. The chances of surviving increases with early detection.
What is Breast Cancer?
The female breast is made up of milk glands and ducts and is surrounded by a layer of fat. Breast cancer commonly develops within these milk ducts and glands. Breast cancer usually originates from the cells lining the milk ducts and glands. When breast cancer is detected at this non-invasive or in-situ stage, treatment is easier and patients have a higher chance of recovery.
5 Steps For Breast Self Examination
STEP 1: Stand in front of a mirror with your clothes removed, you should be able to see both your breasts clearly. Observe the breasts for signs of asymmetry, skin changes or nipple changes or any visible lumps.
STEP 2: Raise your hands behind your head and look for signs of abnormal skin or nipple changes, or any visible masses or lumps.
STEP 3: Observe your nipples for any abnormal nipple discharge. This may include bloody discharge, yellowish, watery or milk-ish discharge.
STEP 4: Lie down and use your right hand to feel your left breast. Using 3 fingers, gently palpate around the breast in a circular motion to palpate around each quadrant to feel for any palpable lumps.
Your hand should move outwards as you palpate in each quadrant. Your touch should be firm but smooth with an adequate amount of pressure. You should apply more pressure if you have dense breast tissue.
Make sure you feel the underarm area as well, palpating in the same circular motion to feel for any abnormal lumps. Repeat the same motion using your left hand for your right breast.
Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.
When to Perform Breast Self-Examination
Examine your breasts once a month – The best time to perform breast self-examination is about a week after your menstrual period starts.
If you no longer menstruate, do a breast self-examination the same day of each month, for example, the first of every month. Continue to perform a breast self-examination if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have breast implants.
All in All
Conducting a Breast Self-Exam (BSE) regularly can be an important way to detect Breast Cancer early. Early detection saves lives.
For a more reliable and accurate screening tool, consider getting a Breast Cancer Screening with a mammogram at our clinics. It can detect the presence of cancerous lumps even before they can be felt with the hand.
If you are concerned about Breast Cancer, it is best to seek evaluation & screening early; you may call any of our clinics to arrange an appointment and our doctors will be more than glad to address your issue.