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It’s October: Give Yourself a Breast Self-Exam

Big Girls Bras is running a great promo for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and one of our favorite vendors Enell is running their own awesome promo. But October is about more than donating to an organization that helps women with diagnostic procedures, or helps women and families who are dealing with breast cancer. It’s also about being aware of the risks of breast cancer, and taking the time to stay on top of your own health! To help you with that, today we’re reviewing the procedure to give yourself a breast self-exam.

Early Awareness can Make a Huge Difference
With 1 in 8 women developing invasive breast cancer at some point in her life, this is a condition that really requires vigilance and early awareness. Believe it or not, mammograms are better for early awareness than a breast self exam. By the time a lump is large enough to be felt, it may have already spread beyond the breast. This is why the American Cancer Society recommends a screening mammogram every year, starting at 40. Women who are higher risk should start screening mammograms earlier.

That being said, plenty of women discover lumps through breast self-exams, either before they start normal screening mammograms or in between mammograms. Ideally, you should do a self-exam every month to check for changes in your breast tissue. Early awareness dramatically improves your chances to fight breast cancer successfully, so don’t neglect this important monthly check.

How to Do a Self-Exam
To do a breast self-exam:

  1. Lie down (this makes your breast tissue spread evenly and thinly, making it easier for you to feel the breast tissue).
  2. Use the finger pads of the three middle fingers on your hand to feel for lumps. Use overlapping, dime-sized circular motions to feel the breast tissue.
  3. Apply three different levels of pressure – light pressure helps you feel the tissue close to the skin, medium pressure helps you feel a little deeper, and firm pressure helps you feel the breast tissue closest to the chest and ribs.
  4. Follow an up and down motion out to the armpit, up to the collarbone, in to the middle of the chest and down to the bottom of the rib cage to be sure you cover all of the breast tissue.
  5. Visually examine your breasts in the mirror for signs of changes.

This doesn’t take the place of a mammogram, but Johns Hopkins Medical Center states:

Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.

Regularly checking your breast tissue for signs of changes can help you spot problems as they develop, and keep your physician informed in case there’s anything that requires medical attention.

Don’t just help out other women by joining one of our Breast Cancer Awareness Month promos or choosing your own way to help. Help yourself by conducting regular self-exams!

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