Five Steps to Self-Check Yourself for Breast Cancer. Boss XL Tips for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Updated: Nov 8
Every minute, somewhere in the world, a woman dies from breast cancer. That's more than 1,400 women every day. A man's lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. Each year, it's expected that about 2,670 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the US, and about 500 will die.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October and throughout the year—people wear pink ribbons to honor survivors, remember those lost to the disease, and to support the progress we are making together to defeat breast cancer.
I too am a Breast Cancer Survivor. I was diagnosed 8 years ago at the age of 33. I found a jellybean size lump in my right breast, and I kept feeling engorged as if I was lactating. My breast size also developed atrophy. Upon going to the doctor for my biopsy, I was told because I was an African American woman my breast was dense, and we have cystic breast, so it was nothing. I was very upset that they didn't want to biopsy my jellybean size lump. I had to advocate for myself and demand that they give me a biopsy. I was already in the exam room prepped for the biopsy and they were refusing to give it to me. Because I was persistent, they did the biopsy and 2 weeks after my 33rd birthday, I was diagnosed with stage 2 A Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), also known as infiltrating ductal carcinoma, which is a type of breast cancer that starts in the milk ducts of the breast and moves into nearby tissue.
In time, IDC may spread (metastasize) through the lymph nodes or bloodstream to other areas of the body.
I underwent 5 rounds of chemotherapy and 7 surgeries. I am a proud flat Breast Cancer survivor. I travel internationally in the Caribbean, and speak about how to accept the diagnosis, care for love one's, and advocate for yourself. Please don't be a statistic, get your exams, speak up and don't be afraid. Find a good support system and keep the faith. Fight over fear!!
Harper Row Fashion Show with Breast Cancer Survivors
Breast Self-Exam Breast self-exam, or regularly examining your breasts on your own, can be an important way to find a breast cancer early, when it’s more likely to be treated successfully.
Step 1: Examine Your Breasts in a Mirror with Hands on Hips Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Here’s what you should look for: Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention: Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out) redness, soreness, rash, or swelling.
Step 2: Raise Arms and Examine Your Breasts Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
Step 3: Look for Signs of Breast Fluid While you’re at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).
Step 4: Feel for Breast Lumps While Lying Down Next, check for breast lumps or abnormalities by feeling your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast, and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Press down with your fingers and move them in a circular motion that’s about the size of a quarter (or an inch around).
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage. Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back.
When you've reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down the ribcage.
Step 5: Feel Your Breasts for Lumps While Standing or Sitting 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.
This what we are taught and to be informed. Another way Breast Cancer lumps are found believe it or not is through intimacy. The partner is the person to find the lump in male and females. Knowledge is power!!
Boss XL Contributor and Double Mastectomy Breast Cancer Survivor Shemariah Pradia
Here are some sites to help