The Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in countries across the world every October, helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease. October has been designated as the Pink Month.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. In Nigeria, with population of about 187 million people and it represents about 12% of all new cancer cases and 25% of all cancers in women.
What is self-breast examination or SBE?
A self-breast examination is ideally done by oneself after one’s period in front of the mirror. It is the most important basic level of inspection for detecting breast cancer.
How to perform a SBE
Begin by lying on your back. It is easier to examine all breast tissue if you are lying down.
- Place your right hand behind your head. With the middle fingers of your left hand, gently yet firmly press down using small motions to examine the entire right breast.
- Next, sit or stand. Feel your armpit, because breast tissue goes into that area.
- Gently squeeze the nipple, checking for discharge. Repeat the process on the left breast.
- Use one of the patterns shown in the diagram to make sure that you are covering all of the breast tissue.
Next, stand in front of a mirror with your arms by your side.
- Look at your breasts directly and in the mirror. Look for changes in skin texture, such as dimpling, puckering, indentations, or skin that looks like an orange peel.
- Also note the shape and outline of each breast.
- Check to see if the nipple turns inward.
Do the same with your arms raised above your head.
Your goal is get used to the feel of your breasts. This will help you to find anything new or different. If you do, call your provider right away.
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Lifestyle editor at VouxElan, A student doctor at Usman Dan fodio University Sokoto, Sokoto State. A poet and a promising writer.