Through our #LetsTalkIntimate campaign we have discussed all aspects of feminine hygiene and urged women to participate in such conversations. This October, we are going to discuss one of the most prevalent topics concerning feminine health- Breast cancer.
Do you know? According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer across the globe, accounting for 12% of the annual cases worldwide. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, out of 13,632 cancers reported, 29% of the diagnosed cancer constituted breast cancer.
As we pivot towards normalizing conversations around feminine intimate health, Let’s Talk Intimate, Shall we?
Spreading Breast Cancer Awareness
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month dates back to October 1985. October serves as a reminder for women to be screened in the hope that by doing so, early detection will lead to more positive outcomes in the fight against breast cancer.
It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. This is what makes awareness and early prevention so crucial.
However, many women feel apprehensive about going to a hospital to get a mammogram. The alternative is to get a self-checkup done at home, to ensure that you detect any anomalies at the earliest stage.
How To Get a Self-Checkup At Home
Here are some steps required to do a self-check at home.
- Lie down. Choose a bed or other flat surface to lie down on your back. The breast tissue spreads out when lying down, making it thinner and easier to feel.
- Feel each breast using the opposite hand—right hand for your left breast and left hand for your right breast. Make sure to cover your entire breast by pressing firmly with your three center fingers. Also, remember to keep your fingers flat and together throughout the process (keeping your fingers level and smooth will help keep the exam consistent). Typically, it’s best to start at the nipple and then begin moving in larger circles until you’ve covered the entire breast.
- Stand Up. Complete the same three-finger pressing, starting at the nipple, by standing up and feeling each breast with the opposite hand as instructed above. You’ll also want to feel under your armpits for any abnormal lumps.
- Use the pads of your fingers. Use the pads, not the very tips, of your three middle fingers for the examination. If you have difficulty feeling with your finger pads, use another part of your hand that is more sensitive, such as your palm or the backs of your fingers.
- Use different pressure levels. Your goal is to feel different depths of the breast by using different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Use light pressure to feel the tissue closest to the skin, medium pressure to feel a little deeper, and firm pressure to feel the tissue closest to the chest and ribs. Be sure to use each pressure level before moving on to the next spot. If you’re not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse.
- Take your time. Don’t rush. It may take several minutes to carefully examine your breasts.
- Follow a pattern. Use a methodical technique to ensure you examine your entire breast. For instance, imagine the face of a clock over your breast or the slices of a pie. Begin near your collarbone and examine that section, moving your fingers toward your nipple. Then move your fingers to the next section.
- Check for Fluid: During the following steps look for any fluid discharge. Common types are yellow, milky, or watery fluid—and sometimes blood.
Keep in mind that even though breast self-exams offer early detection, they are not a replacement for mammograms, which can detect tumours long before they surface as a lump that you can detect by hand.
Taking a Strong Step Towards Breast Cancer Awareness
Many women never think of getting a breast cancer diagnosis till it is too late. To avoid being in such a situation and protecting loved ones, it is essential to take a step together towards increasing breast cancer awareness.
This Pinktober, let’s talk intimate and get more involved in educating our family members and friends. There are several simple ways to participate that can make a difference. Wear a pink ribbon, volunteer at a cancer clinic, share helpful facts and statistics, participate in an awareness run or walk, and read comprehensive guides and resources to detect, fight, and overcome breast cancer.
Join femfresh – #letstalkintmate and encourage women to take control of their health and happiness!