Did you know breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among females in Singapore
(National Cancer Centre Singapore)? The good is being diagnosed with breast cancer does not necessarily mean it is the end as early detection and treatment can help save lives. Going for regular screenings such as mammograms and performing self-checks on your own is key to early detection. Dr Anthony Tang, breast oncoplastic surgeon from The Breast Clinic, strongly advises all ladies above 40 to go for annual breast screenings and for ladies above the age of 50, to go for their breast screenings once every two years.
Early discovery of breast cancer is always detected by screening such as ultrasounds and mammograms. In addition to breast cancer screening, ladies of all ages should also carry out breast self-checks regularly. There are some symptoms that you can look out for when performing your monthly breast self-check which include:
- Breast lumps
- Swelling of lymph nodes on the underarm
- Bleeding or unusual nipple discharge
- Dimpling around the breast area
- Persistent itch or rash around the nipple
- Swollen or thickened skin around the breast
When Should I Carry Out a Breast Self-check?
Step 1: Visual Checks of Your Breast & Armpits
Begin by performing a visual check of your breasts and armpit in front of a mirror. Look out for any abnormalities such as:
- Dimpling around the breast
- Nipple Discharge
- Thickened skin
- Unusual rash or orange peel-like skin
- Visible lumps
Once you are done with the first round of visual check, repeat the check with both of your arms lifted as you compare both sides of your breasts. Look out for the same abnormalities aforementioned above.
Step 2: Pressure Checks for Lumps
Lift your arm on the side of the breast that you would be examining, and perform checks using your hand on the other arm. Start the check from the middle area of your chest, close to your collarbones, and apply pressure on your breast using your middle three fingers in a grid format to check for lumps. Continue applying pressure in this pattern until you reach your armpit area.
Step 3: Nipple Checks for Discharge
Gently squeeze your nipple, one at a time to check for nipple discharge.
Both the pressure and nipple checks in step 2 and 3 can be done at any place of your comfort and need not be in front of a mirror. Be gentle when performing the self-check and avoid placing too much pressure on your breast area and injuring yourself.
Check out this video to find the detailed steps on how you can perform your breast self-check!
Performing monthly breast self-checks play an important role in the early detection of breast cancer. Self-checks are relatively simple to perform and can be done conveniently in the comfort of your home. If you detect any abnormalities or experience any pain or discomfort, consult your doctor right away.
Yearly mammograms and monthly breast self-checks are the way to go. Let us start showing more love to our breast health today before it becomes too late. Prevention is always better than cure! Here’s a free guide you can download and share with the ladies in your life.