(HealthyResearch.com) – Breast cancer strikes one woman in every eight, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Only a fraction of men develop this insidious disease (fewer than 1 in 1,000), but no one is immune.
A home breast check is a quick and easy way to find changes early, and the earlier cancer is caught, the better the chances of treating it before it spreads to other parts of the body. Read on for more details on how to perform a home breast check — even if you’re a guy.
Basic Home Breast Exam
About 40% of cancers detected are the result of regular breast exams, so we need to take the time to get to know our breasts. Choose a time each month to do the exam. MedLine recommends that women who are still menstruating aim for 3 to 5 days after the start of their periods when breast tissue is less likely to be excessively swollen or lumpy.
Start by lying down and placing one hand behind the head. With the middle fingers of the free hand, gently but firmly press into the tissue to feel it and the tissue around it. Move around the breast in a pattern to ensure every spot gets examined. In a seated or standing position, move to feel into the armpit for lumps. Squeeze the nipple and look for unusual discharge.
Move to a mirror and compare the two breasts for differences in size or shape. Make note of any dimpling, puckering, changes in skin texture or changes in nipple orientation. Raise both arms over the head and do another thorough comparison.
Guys Can Do Home Checks, Too
Men might feel uncomfortable giving themselves breast exams at first, but it’s a fact of life: All men have breasts, and those breasts can develop cancer. There’s no shame in being physiologically human or addressing potential health risks, so get checking, men. Dr. Hilary shows how to do it:
Keep in mind that breast cancer in men typically occurs on or beneath the nipple or areola, unless it’s inflammatory breast cancer, which is rarer and may feel more like broad inflammation than a solid tumor. Don’t put off seeing a doctor about any changes; the longer it goes, the more invasive or aggressive treatment might potentially become.
Monthly breast checks are an important part of a solid self-care routine. The 5-year survival rate for breast cancer caught before it spreads is 99% — but that means catching it first. Breast cancer can be silent and stealthy in its attack, but we have the power to stop it in its tracks.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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