Breast self-examination: how, when, why

Breast self-examination is a massage that is done from time to time to recognize any lumps and understand if there are symptoms of breast cancer. It is not a real exam, but a way to check your body yourself , and in case you notice something strange, go to a gynecologist immediately for a visit and a mammogram. This is in fact the first real preventive measure. It is a very simple self-examination, which you can learn to do immediately, if you do not have it never done before. Just follow our advice, which answers the many questions women ask about self-examination: how is it done? when to do it? when to worry?

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Breast self-examination: the video to learn how to do it

It is important to learn how to do breast self-examination, to recognize any lumps and symptoms in time and, if necessary, undergo a gynecological examination and a mammogram immediately. In this video, you can learn the gestures to feel the breast, starting from the armpits to the center of the chest.

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Breast self-examination: when to do it?

A first question that might come to your mind about self-examination is: when is it better to do it? The ideal is to do it every month, but it's already a great thing if you can do it correctly at least once every 2 or 3 months. You have to do it when the breasts are soft, ie 2 or 3 days after the end of regular cycles for life, as the risk of breast cancer does not decrease with age. And this brings us to the second question, to which we answer below: why is it important to do self-examination?

Why is it done?

Breast self-examination is, first of all, a way to get to know your breasts better, their anatomy, consistency and particularity. It is in fact important that you know perfectly the characteristics of your breasts, so that you can immediately notice every little detail. change (swelling, discharge ...) and, if so, see a doctor. In most cases, these are benign cysts, mastoses (especially after 40 years) or adenofibromas (especially before 30) that Breast self-examination must not be experienced as an anxious moment, but as a preventive gesture that testifies to voluntary participation in one's medical budget. Prevention and early diagnosis are very important for breast cancer, which is why October is prevention month every year.

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How to do breast self-examination?

And here we are at the most common doubt: how is self-examination done? It is actually very simple, and you can find here our advice on how to do it right, how to recognize nodules and when to really worry.

Start with a careful observation of the torso in front of the mirror:

  • see if there are any changes in the size and symmetry of the breasts
  • lean your torso slightly forward
  • raises and lowers the arms forward: in doing so, observe the contour of the breasts, there must be no deformation or localized irregularity
  • passes to the "breast self-examination proper

The actual self-examination should be done lying on the back, with a pillow under the shoulders. Here's how to do it and what to do:

  • place your right hand on your left breast. Make small circular motions by rolling your breasts to both sides. It is useless to press, but it is recommended to go over the entire surface of the breast
  • also palpates the armpits, looking for any changes in volume. If you're unsure, don't hesitate to ask your doctor to show you how

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How to recognize lumps and when to do a mammogram

An expert hand is at most able to find the presence of nodules of 1 cm, mammography, on the other hand, can find nodules at the initial stage, even 2-3 mm in diameter. In the case of self-examination, we recommend that you contact your gynecologist for a visit and a mammogram in case you find nodules or any irregularities. In general, mammography begins to be done after the age of 40, even according to the advice of your trusted gynecologist, and after the age of 50 it should be done regularly every 2 years.

To find out more, you can visit the website of the Veronesi Foundation.

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