Monday, October 24, 2016

Breast Self-Exams for Her

According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert a healthcare professional if there are any changes. Both men and women are encouraged to perform a self exam at least once a month.
  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2015, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 60,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
  • About 40,290 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2015 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989.
  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.
Are You at Greater Risk?
  1. Gender: Although men can develop breast cancer, it is more common in women.
  2. Age: The risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer increases as you age.
  3. Genetics: Your risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer doubles if your mother, sister, or daughter has had either types of these cancers.
How to Exam Yourself:
There are multiple ways to perform a self examination. Please see the instructions provided below for each technique.
In the Shower:
  • Put your right arm behind your head and with your left hand check your right breast for lumps or thickenings.
  • Choose 1 of the 3 patterns. With the fingers of your left hand, apply 3 levels of pressure--light, medium and firm--in overlapping, dime sized, circular motions to feel entire breast tissue, including underarm. Examine the underarm with your arm only slightly raised.
  • Put your left arm behind your head and repeat steps with your right hand on the left breast and underarm. Also, look in a mirror for changes in shape, size, or skin texture of breast. Check the nipples for changes, including unusual discharge.
Laying Down:
To examine your right breast, place your right hand behind your head. Follow the same technique as in the shower. Check for lumps, knots, or thickenings. Then put your left arm behind your head, and repeat with your right hand.
Before A Mirror:
With hands firmly pressing down on hips, check for changes in shape, size, or texture of your breasts.

Make an Appointment:
If you feel as though you need to see a medical provider, contact EIU Health Service at (217) 581-3013, visit, or stop by the Human Services building and see an Appointment Clerk to set up a visit.





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