Tag Archives: Breast self-examination

How to Perform the Breast Self-Exam

 

Introduction

Beginning in their 20s, women should be aware of the benefits and limitations of breast self-exam (BSE) as a screening tool for breast cancer. Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel. It is extremely important to report any new breast changes to a health professional as soon as they are found. Still, finding a breast change does not necessarily mean there is a cancer.

Breast Self Exam

A woman can notice changes by being aware of how her breasts normally look and feel. Feeling her breasts for changes (breast awareness), or by choosing to use a step-by-step approach (with a BSE) also helps. Similarly, using a specific schedule to examine breasts maintains a heightened awareness of normalcy.

If you choose to do BSE, the information below is a step-by-step approach for the exam.

Special considerations

The best time for a woman to examine her breasts is when they are not tender or swollen. Women who examine their breasts should have their technique reviewed during periodic health exams by their health care professional.

Women with breast implants can do BSE, too. It’s helpful to have the surgeon help identify the edges of the implant so that you know what you are feeling. There is some thought that implants push out the breast tissue; this may actually make it easier to examine. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can also choose to examine their breasts regularly.

It is acceptable for women to choose not to do BSE or to do BSE once in a while. Women who choose not to do BSE should still be aware of the normal look and feel of their breasts. Not performing BSE makes it especially important to immediately report any changes to your doctor.

How to perform the breast self-exam

Breast-Self-Exam

Horizontal positioning

  • Lie down and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.
  • Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Make overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue.
  • Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed 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. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. If you’re not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.

breast self exam movement

  • Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle).
  • There is some evidence to suggest that the up-and-down pattern (sometimes called the vertical pattern) is the most effective pattern for covering the entire breast, without missing any breast tissue.
  • Repeat the exam on your left breast, putting your left arm behind your head and using the finger pads of your right hand to do the exam.

breast-self exam-5

Standing position

  • While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (The pressing down on the hips position contracts the chest wall muscles and enhances any breast changes.)
  • Examine each underarm while sitting up or standing and with your arm only slightly raised so you can easily feel in this area. Raising your arm straight up tightens the tissue in this area and makes it harder to examine.

breast-self-examination lying down

Summary

This procedure for doing breast self-exam is different from some previous recommendations. These changes represent an extensive review of the medical literature and input from an expert advisory group. There is evidence that this position (lying down), the area felt, pattern of coverage of the breast, and use of different amounts of pressure increase a woman’s ability to find abnormal areas.

I need to acknowledge and thank the multiple sources that continue to compile and disseminate information to the public. These include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. We highly recommend them should you need additional or more thorough information. I welcome your questions and comments.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Follow us!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: How to Perform the Breast Self-Exam

breast self exam

Beginning in their 20s, women should be aware of the benefits and limitations of breast self-exam (BSE). Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any new breast changes to a health professional as soon as they are found. Finding a breast change does not necessarily mean there is a cancer.

Breast Self Exam

A woman can notice changes by being aware of how her breasts normally look and feel and by feeling her breasts for changes (breast awareness), or by choosing to use a step-by-step approach (with a BSE) and using a specific schedule to examine her breasts.
If you choose to do BSE, the information below is a step-by-step approach for the exam. The best time for a woman to examine her breasts is when they are not tender or swollen. Women who examine their breasts should have their technique reviewed during their periodic health exams by their health care professional.
Women with breast implants can do BSE, too. It may be helpful to have the surgeon help identify the edges of the implant so that you know what you are feeling. There is some thought that the implants push out the breast tissue and may actually make it easier to examine. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can also choose to examine their breasts regularly.
It is acceptable for women to choose not to do BSE or to do BSE once in a while. Women who choose not to do BSE should still be aware of the normal look and feel of their breasts and report any changes to their doctor right away.

How to examine your breasts

Breast-Self-Exam

  • Lie down and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.
  • Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Use overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue.
  • Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed 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. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. If you’re not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.

breast self exam movement

  • Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle).
  • There is some evidence to suggest that the up-and-down pattern (sometimes called the vertical pattern) is the most effective pattern for covering the entire breast, without missing any breast tissue.
  • Repeat the exam on your left breast, putting your left arm behind your head and using the finger pads of your right hand to do the exam.

breast-self exam-5

  • While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (The pressing down on the hips position contracts the chest wall muscles and enhances any breast changes.)
  • Examine each underarm while sitting up or standing and with your arm only slightly raised so you can easily feel in this area. Raising your arm straight up tightens the tissue in this area and makes it harder to examine.

breast-self-examination lying down

This procedure for doing breast self-exam is different from some previous recommendations. These changes represent an extensive review of the medical literature and input from an expert advisory group. There is evidence that this position (lying down), the area felt, pattern of coverage of the breast, and use of different amounts of pressure increase a woman’s ability to find abnormal areas.
I need to acknowledge and thank the multiple sources that continue to compile and disseminate information to the public, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I have used these and other sources over the course of the week to integrate my practices and have distilled their information in many cases. I highly recommend them should you need additional or more thorough information. I welcome your questions and comments.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: This is How You Self-Assess For Breast Cancer, Part 1

breast cancer risk assessment

When I started this series, my first thought was “Why reinvent the wheel? There is a massive amount of information available on the web about breast cancer, and surely it’s done much better than I could ever do it.” As true as that probably remains, it is also true that much of it is technical and filled with medical jargon. That’s why Straight, No Chaser exists; it’s an effort to break through those types of barriers to understanding. This series on breast cancer is really meant to be straightforward, more easily digestible facts to better empower you. With that in mind, today I’m going to address specific simple steps you should be taking to assess yourself for breast cancer.
First things first. There are a lot of breast cancer self-assessment tools on the internet that ask you questions and then give you a percentage probability that you’ll develop breast cancer. Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds like something that only would serve to increase stress. By my way of thinking, anything other than 0% or 100% is going to increase stress and uncertainty. What I’d like for you to do is to use the presence of the points and risk factors below to serve as talking points with your physician. In other words, seek to self assess with actions to reduce your risk instead of taking a test that spits out a percentage equating to the probability you’d develop the disease.

breast cancer risk assessment 1

1. Reduce your risk factors

  • Discuss with your physician balancing the need for birth control with the use of oral contraceptives.
  • After you are pregnant, breast feed.
  • Exercise, and if you’re obese, lose weight.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • If you’re post-menopausal, discuss with your physician balancing the need for hormone use with your breast cancer risks.


breastcaassessment

2. Get screened

  • Learn your body better than anyone else; learn to do breast exams at and after age 20.
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40.
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 unless your physician places you on a different schedule.

breast cancer checkmark
3. Know the signs of concern and prompts to see your health care provider

  • Lump, hard knot or change in consistency inside the breast or underarm area
  • Persistent pain, swelling, warmth, redness or discoloration of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling, puckering or pulling in of the skin, nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly

In the next Straight, No Chaser, we will go over the breast self-exam in detail.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 
 

Straight, No Chaser: How to Perform the Breast Self-Exam

breast self exam

Beginning in their 20s, women should be aware of the benefits and limitations of breast self-exam (BSE). Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any new breast changes to a health professional as soon as they are found. Finding a breast change does not necessarily mean there is a cancer.

Breast Self Exam

A woman can notice changes by being aware of how her breasts normally look and feel and by feeling her breasts for changes (breast awareness), or by choosing to use a step-by-step approach (with a BSE) and using a specific schedule to examine her breasts.
If you choose to do BSE, the information below is a step-by-step approach for the exam. The best time for a woman to examine her breasts is when they are not tender or swollen. Women who examine their breasts should have their technique reviewed during their periodic health exams by their health care professional.
Women with breast implants can do BSE, too. It may be helpful to have the surgeon help identify the edges of the implant so that you know what you are feeling. There is some thought that the implants push out the breast tissue and may actually make it easier to examine. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can also choose to examine their breasts regularly.
It is acceptable for women to choose not to do BSE or to do BSE once in a while. Women who choose not to do BSE should still be aware of the normal look and feel of their breasts and report any changes to their doctor right away.

How to examine your breasts

Breast-Self-Exam

  • Lie down and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.
  • Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Use overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue.
  • Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed 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. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. If you’re not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.

breast self exam movement

  • Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle).
  • There is some evidence to suggest that the up-and-down pattern (sometimes called the vertical pattern) is the most effective pattern for covering the entire breast, without missing any breast tissue.
  • Repeat the exam on your left breast, putting your left arm behind your head and using the finger pads of your right hand to do the exam.

breast-self exam-5

  • While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (The pressing down on the hips position contracts the chest wall muscles and enhances any breast changes.)
  • Examine each underarm while sitting up or standing and with your arm only slightly raised so you can easily feel in this area. Raising your arm straight up tightens the tissue in this area and makes it harder to examine.

breast-self-examination lying down

This procedure for doing breast self-exam is different from some previous recommendations. These changes represent an extensive review of the medical literature and input from an expert advisory group. There is evidence that this position (lying down), the area felt, pattern of coverage of the breast, and use of different amounts of pressure increase a woman’s ability to find abnormal areas.
I need to acknowledge and thank the multiple sources that continue to compile and disseminate information to the public, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I have used these and other sources over the course of the week to integrate my practices and have distilled their information in many cases. I highly recommend them should you need additional or more thorough information. I welcome your questions and comments.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: This is How You Self-Assess For Breast Cancer, Part 1

breast cancer risk assessment

When I started this series, my first thought was “Why reinvent the wheel? There is a massive amount of information available on the web about breast cancer, and surely it’s done much better than I could ever do it.” As true as that probably remains, it is also true that much of it is technical and filled with medical jargon. That’s why Straight, No Chaser exists; it’s an effort to break through those types of barriers to understanding. This series on breast cancer is really meant to be straightforward, more easily digestible facts to better empower you. With that in mind, today I’m going to address specific simple steps you should be taking to assess yourself for breast cancer.
First things first. There are a lot of breast cancer self-assessment tools on the internet that ask you questions and then give you a percentage probability that you’ll develop breast cancer. Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds like something that only would serve to increase stress. By my way of thinking, anything other than 0% or 100% is going to increase stress and uncertainty. What I’d like for you to do is to use the presence of the points and risk factors below to serve as talking points with your physician. In other words, seek to self assess with actions to reduce your risk instead of taking a test that spits out a percentage equating to the probability you’d develop the disease.

breast cancer risk assessment 1

1. Reduce your risk factors

  • Discuss with your physician balancing the need for birth control with the use of oral contraceptives.
  • After you are pregnant, breast feed.
  • Exercise, and if you’re obese, lose weight.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • If you’re post-menopausal, discuss with your physician balancing the need for hormone use with your breast cancer risks.


breastcaassessment

2. Get screened

  • Learn your body better than anyone else; learn to do breast exams at and after age 20.
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40.
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 unless your physician places you on a different schedule.

breast cancer checkmark
3. Know the signs of concern and prompts to see your health care provider

  • Lump, hard knot or change in consistency inside the breast or underarm area
  • Persistent pain, swelling, warmth, redness or discoloration of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling, puckering or pulling in of the skin, nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly

In the next Straight, No Chaser, we will go over the breast self-exam in detail.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: How to Perform the Breast Self-Exam

breast self exam

Beginning in their 20s, women should be aware of the benefits and limitations of breast self-exam (BSE). Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any new breast changes to a health professional as soon as they are found. Finding a breast change does not necessarily mean there is a cancer.

Breast Self Exam

A woman can notice changes by being aware of how her breasts normally look and feel and by feeling her breasts for changes (breast awareness), or by choosing to use a step-by-step approach (with a BSE) and using a specific schedule to examine her breasts.
If you choose to do BSE, the information below is a step-by-step approach for the exam. The best time for a woman to examine her breasts is when they are not tender or swollen. Women who examine their breasts should have their technique reviewed during their periodic health exams by their health care professional.
Women with breast implants can do BSE, too. It may be helpful to have the surgeon help identify the edges of the implant so that you know what you are feeling. There is some thought that the implants push out the breast tissue and may actually make it easier to examine. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can also choose to examine their breasts regularly.
It is acceptable for women to choose not to do BSE or to do BSE once in a while. Women who choose not to do BSE should still be aware of the normal look and feel of their breasts and report any changes to their doctor right away.

How to examine your breasts

Breast-Self-Exam

  • Lie down and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.
  • Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Use overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue.
  • Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed 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. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. If you’re not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.

breast self exam movement

  • Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle).
  • There is some evidence to suggest that the up-and-down pattern (sometimes called the vertical pattern) is the most effective pattern for covering the entire breast, without missing any breast tissue.
  • Repeat the exam on your left breast, putting your left arm behind your head and using the finger pads of your right hand to do the exam.

breast-self exam-5

  • While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (The pressing down on the hips position contracts the chest wall muscles and enhances any breast changes.)
  • Examine each underarm while sitting up or standing and with your arm only slightly raised so you can easily feel in this area. Raising your arm straight up tightens the tissue in this area and makes it harder to examine.

breast-self-examination lying down

This procedure for doing breast self-exam is different from some previous recommendations. These changes represent an extensive review of the medical literature and input from an expert advisory group. There is evidence that this position (lying down), the area felt, pattern of coverage of the breast, and use of different amounts of pressure increase a woman’s ability to find abnormal areas.
I need to acknowledge and thank the multiple sources that continue to compile and disseminate information to the public, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I have used these and other sources over the course of the week to integrate my practices and have distilled their information in many cases. I highly recommend them should you need additional or more thorough information. I welcome your questions and comments.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: This is How You Self-Assess For Breast Cancer

breast cancer risk assessment

When I started this series, my first thought was “Why reinvent the wheel? There is a massive amount of information available on the web about breast cancer, and surely it’s done much better than I could ever do it.” As true as that probably remains, it is also true that much of it is technical and filled with medical jargon. That’s why Straight, No Chaser exists; it’s an effort to break through those types of barriers to understanding. This series on breast cancer is really meant to be straightforward, more easily digestible facts to better empower you. With that in mind, today I’m going to address specific simple steps you should be taking to assess yourself for breast cancer.
First things first. There are a lot of breast cancer self-assessment tools on the internet that ask you questions and then give you a percentage probability that you’ll develop breast cancer. Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds like something that only would serve to increase stress. By my way of thinking, anything other than 0% or 100% is going to increase stress and uncertainty. What I’d like for you to do is to use the presence of the points and risk factors below to serve as talking points with your physician. In other words, seek to self assess with actions to reduce your risk instead of taking a test that spits out a percentage equating to the probability you’d develop the disease.

breast cancer risk assessment 1

1. Reduce your risk factors

  • Discuss with your physician balancing the need for birth control with the use of oral contraceptives.
  • After you are pregnant, breast feed.
  • Exercise, and if you’re obese, lose weight.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • If you’re post-menopausal, discuss with your physician balancing the need for hormone use with your breast cancer risks.


breastcaassessment

2. Get screened

  • Learn your body better than anyone else; learn to do breast exams at and after age 20.
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40.
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 unless your physician places you on a different schedule.

breast cancer checkmark
3. Know the signs of concern and prompts to see your health care provider

  • Lump, hard knot or change in consistency inside the breast or underarm area
  • Persistent pain, swelling, warmth, redness or discoloration of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling, puckering or pulling in of the skin, nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly

In the next Straight, No Chaser, we will go over the breast self-exam in detail.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: How to Perform the Breast Self-Exam

breast self exam

Beginning in their 20s, women should be aware of the benefits and limitations of breast self-exam (BSE). Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any new breast changes to a health professional as soon as they are found. Finding a breast change does not necessarily mean there is a cancer.

Breast Self Exam

A woman can notice changes by being aware of how her breasts normally look and feel and by feeling her breasts for changes (breast awareness), or by choosing to use a step-by-step approach (with a BSE) and using a specific schedule to examine her breasts.
If you choose to do BSE, the information below is a step-by-step approach for the exam. The best time for a woman to examine her breasts is when they are not tender or swollen. Women who examine their breasts should have their technique reviewed during their periodic health exams by their health care professional.
Women with breast implants can do BSE, too. It may be helpful to have the surgeon help identify the edges of the implant so that you know what you are feeling. There is some thought that the implants push out the breast tissue and may actually make it easier to examine. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can also choose to examine their breasts regularly.
It is acceptable for women to choose not to do BSE or to do BSE once in a while. Women who choose not to do BSE should still be aware of the normal look and feel of their breasts and report any changes to their doctor right away.

How to examine your breasts

Breast-Self-Exam

  • Lie down and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.
  • Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Use overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue.
  • Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed 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. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. If you’re not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.

breast self exam movement

  • Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle).
  • There is some evidence to suggest that the up-and-down pattern (sometimes called the vertical pattern) is the most effective pattern for covering the entire breast, without missing any breast tissue.
  • Repeat the exam on your left breast, putting your left arm behind your head and using the finger pads of your right hand to do the exam.

breast-self exam-5

  • While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (The pressing down on the hips position contracts the chest wall muscles and enhances any breast changes.)
  • Examine each underarm while sitting up or standing and with your arm only slightly raised so you can easily feel in this area. Raising your arm straight up tightens the tissue in this area and makes it harder to examine.

breast-self-examination lying down

This procedure for doing breast self-exam is different from some previous recommendations. These changes represent an extensive review of the medical literature and input from an expert advisory group. There is evidence that this position (lying down), the area felt, pattern of coverage of the breast, and use of different amounts of pressure increase a woman’s ability to find abnormal areas.
I need to acknowledge and thank the multiple sources that continue to compile and disseminate information to the public, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I have used these and other sources over the course of the week to integrate my practices and have distilled their information in many cases. I highly recommend them should you need additional or more thorough information. I welcome your questions and comments.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook atSterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: This is How You Self-Assess For Breast Cancer, Part 1

breast cancer risk assessment

When I started this series, my first thought was “Why reinvent the wheel? There is a massive amount of information available on the web about breast cancer, and surely it’s done much better than I could ever do it.” As true as that probably remains, it is also true that much of it is technical and filled with medical jargon. That’s why Straight, No Chaser exists; it’s an effort to break through those types of barriers to understanding. This series on breast cancer is really meant to be straightforward, more easily digestible facts to better empower you. With that in mind, today I’m going to address specific simple steps you should be taking to assess yourself for breast cancer.
First things first. There are a lot of breast cancer self-assessment tools on the internet that ask you questions and then give you a percentage probability that you’ll develop breast cancer. Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds like something that only would serve to increase stress. By my way of thinking, anything other than 0% or 100% is going to increase stress and uncertainty. What I’d like for you to do is to use the presence of the points and risk factors below to serve as talking points with your physician. In other words, seek to self assess with actions to reduce your risk instead of taking a test that spits out a percentage equating to the probability you’d develop the disease.

breast cancer risk assessment 1

1. Reduce your risk factors

  • Discuss with your physician balancing the need for birth control with the use of oral contraceptives.
  • After you are pregnant, breast feed.
  • Exercise, and if you’re obese, lose weight.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • If you’re post-menopausal, discuss with your physician balancing the need for hormone use with your breast cancer risks.


breastcaassessment

2. Get screened

  • Learn your body better than anyone else; learn to do breast exams at and after age 20.
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40.
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 unless your physician places you on a different schedule.

breast cancer checkmark
3. Know the signs of concern and prompts to see your health care provider

  • Lump, hard knot or change in consistency inside the breast or underarm area
  • Persistent pain, swelling, warmth, redness or discoloration of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling, puckering or pulling in of the skin, nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly

In the next Straight, No Chaser, we will go over the breast self-exam in detail.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: How to Perform the Breast Self-Exam

self-breast-exam

Beginning in their 20s, women should be aware of the benefits and limitations of breast self-exam (BSE). Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any new breast changes to a health professional as soon as they are found. Finding a breast change does not necessarily mean there is a cancer.
A woman can notice changes by being aware of how her breasts normally look and feel and by feeling her breasts for changes (breast awareness), or by choosing to use a step-by-step approach (with a BSE) and using a specific schedule to examine her breasts.
If you choose to do BSE, the information below is a step-by-step approach for the exam. The best time for a woman to examine her breasts is when they are not tender or swollen. Women who examine their breasts should have their technique reviewed during their periodic health exams by their health care professional.
Women with breast implants can do BSE, too. It may be helpful to have the surgeon help identify the edges of the implant so that you know what you are feeling. There is some thought that the implants push out the breast tissue and may actually make it easier to examine. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can also choose to examine their breasts regularly.
It is acceptable for women to choose not to do BSE or to do BSE once in a while. Women who choose not to do BSE should still be aware of the normal look and feel of their breasts and report any changes to their doctor right away.

How to examine your breasts

  • Lie down and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.
  • Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Use overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue.

 

  • Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed 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. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. If you’re not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.
  • Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle).

  • There is some evidence to suggest that the up-and-down pattern (sometimes called the vertical pattern) is the most effective pattern for covering the entire breast, without missing any breast tissue.
  • Repeat the exam on your left breast, putting your left arm behind your head and using the finger pads of your right hand to do the exam.
  • While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (The pressing down on the hips position contracts the chest wall muscles and enhances any breast changes.)
  • Examine each underarm while sitting up or standing and with your arm only slightly raised so you can easily feel in this area. Raising your arm straight up tightens the tissue in this area and makes it harder to examine.

This procedure for doing breast self-exam is different from some previous recommendations. These changes represent an extensive review of the medical literature and input from an expert advisory group. There is evidence that this position (lying down), the area felt, pattern of coverage of the breast, and use of different amounts of pressure increase a woman’s ability to find abnormal areas.
I need to acknowledge and thank the multiple sources that continue to compile and disseminate information to the public, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I have used these and other sources over the course of the week to integrate my practices and have distilled their information in many cases. I highly recommend them should you need additional or more thorough information. I welcome your questions and comments.

Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: This is How You Self-Assess For Breast Cancer, Part 1

breastcaassessment

When I started this point, my first thought was “Why reinvent the wheel? There is a massive amount of information available on the web about breast cancer.” However, as I looked through it all, I was equally amazed at how technical and filled with medical jargon much of it is. I guess that’s why Straight, No Chaser comes in handy! With that in mind, today I’m going to address specific simple steps you should be taking to assess yourself for breast cancer.
1. Reduce your risk factors

  • Discuss with your physician balancing the need for birth control with the use of oral contraceptives
  • When you are pregnant, breast feed
  • Exercise and reduce your obesity
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • If you’re post-menopausal, discuss with your physician balancing the need for hormone use with your breast cancer risks

2. Get screened

  • Learn your body better than anyone else; learn to do breast exams at and after age 20
  • Have a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 unless your physician places you on a different schedule

3. Know the signs of concern and prompts to see your health care provider

  • Lump, hard knot or change in consistency inside the breast or underarm area
  • Persistent pain, swelling, warmth, redness or discoloration of the breast
  • Change in the size or shape of the breast
  • Dimpling, puckering or pulling in of the skin, nipple or other parts of the breast
  • Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
  • Nipple discharge that starts suddenly

I welcome your questions and comments.
Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Five Myths Surrounding Breast Cancer

bustingthemyths

Before I get into the details of what you need to know about breast cancer, it’s important to clear the table of some of the persistent myths and fears that exist. The disease is tough enough as it is without the fear factor impeding our ability to fight back. Please be patient with me here. If you find these myths ridiculous, then good for you, as it indicates that you’re informed on the matter. Just understand that these are real questions that other physicians and I hear often. Remember, knowledge is power.
1. “If a family member of mine has breast cancer, that means I’ll get it too.”

  • It is only true to say that women who have a family history of breast cancer have a higher risk of developing it. Overall, only approximately 10% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family cancer, and most women with breast cancer have no family history. In other words, a family member with breast cancer isn’t a life sentence for you, and it shouldn’t stop your efforts to lower your other risks and focus on early detection and treatment.

2. “All lumps in my breast are breast cancer.”

  • There are two important points for you to remember. First, any persistent change in the breast or armpit (axilla) should not be ignored. Remember, I will be stressing the importance of early evaluation for the purposes of detection. That said, only a small percentage of breast changes represent cancer (about 80% of lumps are benign). The really good news is if you learn and perform consistent breast exams, you will detect these changes earlier than anyone else and very often early enough to make a difference.

3. “Men don’t get breast cancer.”

  • Unfortunately, I know this not to be the case within my family. Annually, there are over 400 breast cancer deaths among men from over 2000 new cases being diagnosed. Men should pay attention just as women do because unfortunately, in part due to the delayed detection, the death rate of breast cancer in men is higher than in women.

4. “I heard breast implants cause cancer.”

  • No. There’s no increased risk with breast implants and breast cancer. However, you can legitimately say implants sometimes obscure the view of possible cancer on a mammogram.

5. “The risk of breast cancer is always 1 in 8.”

  • Actually it’s 1 in 8 during a woman’s lifetime. The important distinction is the risk increases as one ages, from 1 in 233 in a woman’s 30s up to 1 in 8 across the board by age 85.

Check back this afternoon for even more breast cancer facts and myths busted.
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