Self-Examination, the first Breast Cancer Prevention Exam

A few simple gestures can make all the difference in breast cancer prevention.

At a typical time in the daily routine, just a few minutes and proper self-examination can keep potential changes and irregularities in check. Here’s how.

Although breast cancer in its early stages generally causes no discomfort, women can feel changes in their breasts through this periodic self-examination. This should be done between days 7 and 14 of the cycle, when the breasts are less likely to be swollen and sore. For women who no longer menstruate, the advice is to choose a day that is easy to remember, such as the first or last day of the month.

Special attention should be paid to the following abnormalities:

  • Changes in breast size or shape
  • Difference in size between the two breasts that has appeared recently
  • Retractions, folds or swelling of the breasts
  • Skin abnormalities, such as redness, inflammation or “orange peel” skin
  • Hardening or presence of lumps in breast tissue
  • Nodules or swellings in the axillary cavity
  • Retraction or redness of the nipples or discharge of fluid
  • Pain in the breast area

Self-examination is not a substitute for a medical examination or mammogram for early detection of breast cancer. Prevention programs are available in all regions that invite all women aged 50 and older to have mammography screening every two years.

If you notice changes or irregularities in your breasts, do not be alarmed; they may be benign lesions. See a specialist who will direct you to the appropriate tests.

Self-palpation performed once a month facilitates early detection and increases the likelihood of cure. However, this does not mean that every lump that is palpated automatically corresponds to breast cancer; even cysts can be the cause of a mutation. However, every palpable lump should be examined by a specialist.