BE BREAST AWARE
Be breast aware in 3 easy steps!
... YOUR FAMILY HISTORY!
If you have had multiple cases of breast or ovarian cancer in your family *, you may genetically be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. There is the opportunity to seek predictive genetic counselling from a doctor you trust. Please note: if a predictive genetic test is recommended to you and the result is positive, this still does not mean that cancer will occur. At the same time a negative result does not mean that you will not get cancer but only that you have no genetically increased risk. To summarize, these tests are designed to help you identify a potentially higher risk and - based on that - perform the next two steps with greater attention and on a regular basis!
... YOUR BREASTS!
Stand in front of the mirror and check the appearance of your breasts. Has anything changed in size or shape? Do you see redness, crusts or other anomalies? Now lean forward a bit and put your hand on the side of the chest that you want to check first. Thoroughly check your chest with your fingers closed. Then scan the whole breast with both hands again. Grasp and feel the nipple with your fingertips while at the same time applying pressure. Finally, examine your armpits with the respective opposite hand in order to check your lymphatic glands. Repeat this procedure for the other side.
The best day to examine your breasts is the day after the end of your period - then any swellings are usually gone and you can discover anything unusual.
It is important that you have no fear or inhibitions regarding checking your breasts, even though you might discover something! You may only find a harmless knot or hardened tissue that poses no danger. In this case the first step should always be an appointment with your gynaecologist or family doctor to get a professional diagnosis.
... YOUR OPTIONS!
Now the most important thing: if you have opted for a predictive genetic test or if you recognize something unusual in your breasts that you want to discuss with your doctor, then do not be afraid and act with self-confidence! A good doctor will go through the various options with you step by step, answer your questions and finally discuss with you any possible tests, treatments or even surgeries. Do not let yourself be intimidated by medical terms and do not let yourself get persuaded to something that you are not convinced of or that scares you. If this is the case, you should consider getting a second opinion or visiting another doctor. Contact your local Cancer Association for advice.
The best day to check your breast is on the day after your period ended -
that's when the swell is usually gone and you can identify anything unusual.
It is important that you don't get scared to properly check them, in case
you find something! Most of the time, it is merely an innocent knot or hardened tissue that will not cause any harm. Hence, the first step should always be
to go to your gynaecologist or GP to get a professional diagnosis.
Those breast self checks are ideal for women under 40 - even if this
might not be the core target group for breast cancer, the habit of checking yourself once a month can benefit you at a later age! Anything that might come along then, you will potentially be able to catch it early, which increases chances of a cure.
If you had more than two cases of breast cancer in your family and / or are above 40, it is advisable to do regular mammograms. Please speak to your doctor who will provide you with details, respectively refer you.