The Happy Trail

How to perform a self-exam for breast cancer!

Life one arm up to give yourself a breast eaam Photo credit: wikimedia commons

By Gabby Lemieux

Loggers, it’s not just spooky season, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month! The nationally recognized campaign is organized each October to raise awareness and acknowledge the experiences of survivors and those currently battling Breast Cancer. An essential aspect of the campaign is reminding those with breasts about the importance of regular doctor’s exams, mammograms, ultrasounds, and MRIs. The first step is self-examination, something anyone can do! A brief self-exam once a month is appropriate to recognize any changes in your breasts.

Here is how to perform a self-exam to identify any irregularities in your breasts!

1) Practice your power pose in the mirror! Place your hands on your hips and examine your bare breasts for any abnormalities such as lumps, swelling, rashes or inconsistencies of the nipple, including color change or leaking fluid. Raise your hands above your head, like a diver’s pose, and check again for irregularities. This is also an opportunity for some self-love; take a look at your reflection and say I love you, boobies! While not necessarily required by the American Cancer Society, I highly recommend it.

2) If you got em’, feel em’! Lie down and check for abnormalities by massaging the breasts with three fingers, using a steady, firm touch. Rub in small circular motions around the entirety of the breast to detect any lumps that are worrisome. 

3) Do a quick check in the shower! While you’re soaping up, may as well do a quick check. Raise your arm above your head and massage with your opposite hand as you would if you were lying down. Not all lumps in the breast are a major cause for concern — many turn out to be benign. If you do find something concerning about the appearance or texture of your breasts, make a doctor’s appointment and anticipate a mammogram, but don’t panic! Early detection is key.

I hardly need an excuse to feel myself up, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month reminds us that familiarity with our bodies and personal massage is an important part of our health. So, get out there, Loggers, and give your boobies some love and attention!