Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let’s talk about what we should start to do on a monthly basis to insure our proper health!
Breast self examinations, or BSE as its generally referred to, has been credited with being responsible for the detection of 90% of breast cancer cases in women. It costs nothing, it’s easy to do once you know how, and its safe.
The following is a 4 step process which you can do in the comfort of your own home. It is normal for your breasts to change slightly during the month as their exposure to the hormones in your body changes, and for this reason it is best to do your self-examination at roughly the same time every month, that being 2-3 days post menstruation, so that you are comparing like with like. Here it is…..
Step 1: Begin by standing in front of a mirror and with your shoulders square and hands on your hips. While it can be normal for the breasts not to be identical in shape, you want to be looking for any abnormalities, especially changes that weren’t previously there, such as……
- puckering or dimpling of the skin
- changes in color (such as redness) or areas of greater warmth (may be an indication of inflammation)
- changes in size or distortion, such as a raised or firmer area
- changes in the nipples such as a changed shape or direction or even an inverted nipple (pushing inwards)
- any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples
- unusual discomfort
Raise both your arms straight above your head, and look for the same changes as above in Step 1.
Lie comfortably flat on your back and then using your left hand to examine your right breast (and vice versa) examine both breasts using 3-4 fingers placed close together and keeping them flat against your breast (rather than using the finger tips). Move your fingers in small circular movements, being firm, but gentle; this is not supposed to hurt!
Using your hand in this manner, systematically feel your entire breast in a way that works best for you: either from the nipple working outwards in a circular fashion until you reach the outermost parts or instead you may wish to work your fingers up and down from the inside to outside (or outside to inside) also covering your entire breast in this manner. Repeat with the other breast. You will find that you use slight pressure for the most superficial parts of the breast, and apply increasingly more pressure to feel the deeper parts especially those against your chest/rib cage. Once again, this should not be hurting you!
Complete your exam finally by sitting up and doing the same examination while raising the arm which is on the same side as the breast being examined, above your head as you examine once again with the opposite hand. (some women find this easier in the bath or shower when their skin is wet and slippery)
The entire procedure should only take a few minutes for each breast. If you do detect any of these changes as listed above, it would be advisable to have it further evaluated with Digital Infared Thermal Imaging (DITI).
At this point, I would like to add an important caveat…..
Having interviewed many women with breast cancer, and having asked them about doing BSE’s, the response is often one of not enjoying doing this self-screening procedure. In spite of being told that it is a good and necessary procedure, many women invariably begin to experience an uneasiness that stems from a nervousness of what they might find. It is important that we are not dismissive of this detail revealed by many women on questioning.
As with any screening method, when we do a BSE with an energy of expectation or fear of finding breast cancer, we can inadvertently in time bring on the very thing we wish to avoid! It is one of the oldest laws of the Universe; “what we expect, we experience”. It is crucial to understand and appreciate this critical factor!
Few people will mention this, and yet this energy of expectation coupled with the inordinate fear of breast cancer which so many women possess, is not helping the ‘epidemic’ of breast cancer in our modern times!
In summary then; if you use BSE as a method of screening, it is important that you use it with a mindset of simple observation and with the intention of creating peace of mind. In this manner, it is a very helpful and important screening tool!
However, for those who cannot do this examination without feeling nervous and expectant of finding breast cancer, then you need to know that you may be doing more harm than good! If it feels easier for you to have a clinical breast examination (CBE) by an experienced professional or a DITI, then have this done instead. It is your body and ultimately your choice. Do what feels right for you!
In addition, I recommend that all women learn to listen to their body, learn to know their body and importantly begin to understand what cancer really is! This will make you less fearful of breast cancer, while raising your awareness of your body and how powerful you are in preventing breast cancer. You can then actively begin to take those steps necessary to avoid cancer (rather than looking for it and anticipating it) especially if you are one of those who can’t help being fearful and expectant of breast cancer.
Our ultimate goal as we move forward to squash the ‘plague’ of breast cancer, we must begin to focus on learning what cancer really is
(which is currently known by very few, including the medical industry) and then begin taking steps to prevent it, rather than focusing primarily on detecting the symptoms as is currently done.By simply devoting all our energy to detecting the symptoms (ie screening for breast cancer) we are left feeling like helpless victims waiting for cancer to strike.
In contrast, when we understand what cancer really is and how powerful we as individuals are in preventing it, then we do not need to live in fear of it, and we can live our lives in a way that will prevent cancer ever developing. This mindset and this way of living leaves us feeling empowered!
Empower yourself daily!
Remember #HealthIsAChoice. We are here to help. YOUR health is OUR priority!
Now I’d like to hear from you…
Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below.
To Your Good Health,
Dr Elena M Morreale
For More Information: Call Dr Elena Morreale (Alternative Cancer and Health Therapies, Tampa, FL) .
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.