While we honors those who are affected by Breast Cancer, it’s important to not only spread awareness but also take care yourself. So here’s some helpful tips to take control of your own health.
1. Find a position you’re comfortable with
Stephen Chan, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at BMI Park Hospital recommends leaning forward with your arms on your hips and then standing upright with both arms over your head. “The more you do this the more you will get to know your breasts which, in turn, will make spotting changes easier,” says Stephen.
2. Know the facts
Never miss an opportunity to get checked out. These procedures are put in place to benefit you so make sure to take advantage. There is a common misconception that mammograms expose you to too much radiation and that they increase your risk of cancer. Sue Oliver, Professional Head of Mammography at Nuffield Health says, “Yes, radiation is used in mammography but the radiation risk is outweighed by the benefit of the mammogram when used to diagnose a cancer.” It’s all about risks versus advantage.
3. Snooze often
We know life gets hectic and busy, but sleep is extremely important to your health so make sure you’re getting enough! Sleeping longer can reduce your breast cancer risk. Shift workers are more likely to develop breast cancer related problems. Know your stuff!
4. Switch up your routine
Moving around means you’re getting the best of every angle. Stephen says, “When you are feeling for changes make sure you check in two or three different positions – laying on your back, standing up and leaning forward.” It might sound like a lot, but your health is worth more than the few minutes of your time!
5. Know “when”
Get in the habit of checking in with your boobs at least once a month. This will give you the opportunity to get to know your breasts and learn how they normally look and feel. A good place to start checking is in front of a mirror which will give you a 360 degree view of your breasts.
Also, a good way to remember is by downloading an app, like Keep A Breast, which guides you through the motions and even enables you to set a reminder to remind you to check.
6. Check them in the shower
Lots of women find this technique very useful when doing a self-exam. Sometimes it’s easier and more comfortable to check your breasts when their wet. Do what feels right for you!
7. Check for changes or lumps in your breasts
These might not be seen but they can be felt. But Sue Oliver says not to worry, “Most breast lumps are not cancerous. A lump may be an indication of breast cancer or one of many benign breast conditions”. Breast lumps deserve medical attention – if you find one – get it checked out right away!