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How well do you know your breasts?

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

At The Osteopathic Pelvic Hub, we encourage everyone to embrace the challenge of becoming familiar with their breasts! This intimate connection with your breasts could potentially save your life; it's time to be "Breast Aware."


The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is significant, with 1 in 7 women and 1 in 675 men facing this possibility by age 85.


The crucial point to remember is that you don't need to be an expert. Simply knowing what your breasts normally feel like is the key.


For those with regular menstrual cycles, the best time to perform your "breast check" is the week following your cycle. If you have a different hormonal situation (e.g., breastfeeding, pregnant, postmenopausal, irregular periods), or no periods at all, consider setting a monthly reminder on your phone. If you have a partner, involve them in the conversation and make them aware of the changes to watch out for.


Not sure how to do a breast examination? Don't worry, we've got you covered!


Follow the easy guide below:


1. Bathroom Mirrors

- Look in the mirror with your hands on your hips and check for changes in color, size, shape, dimpling, and nipple appearance.

- Push your shoulders forward and then raise your arms above your head, continuing to look for any changes.


2. In the Shower

- Put your left hand behind your head while in the shower.

- With the tips of your right fingers, make small circular movements over your left breast to check for anything unusual.

- Continue around the breast, pressing more firmly to feel through deeper layers of breast tissue. Examine the breast up to the collarbone and across to the armpit.

- Repeat the process on your right breast.


3. Lying Down

- Lie down on your left side with your knees bent, and place your right arm under your head while rolling your shoulders back to flatten your breast as much as possible.

- Examine your right breast in the same way as in the shower.

- When finished with the right breast, repeat the process for your left breast.


For more information on doing a breast examination, you can visit jeanhailes.org.au


What should you look for during the examination? It's not just about finding a lump! While 83% of women diagnosed with breast cancer present with a lump, the remaining 17% present with non-lump symptoms.


Being "breast aware" and regularly checking your breasts can help you detect the following changes:


- A new lump or lumpiness (especially if only in one breast)

- Changes in the size and shape of the breast

- Changes to the nipple (e.g., crusting, ulcer, redness, or inversion)

- Nipple discharge (without squeezing)

- Changes to the skin of the breast (e.g., redness or dimpling)

- Unusual and persistent pain


Remember that 9 out of 10 changes are not cancerous, but it is essential to monitor any changes with the help of your women's health G.P.


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