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Alternative Cancer Treatment - Performing a Breast Self-Exam

May 23, 2008
In general about 1 in every 12 women will contract breast cancer at some age, the odds of contracting it later in life being greater. Thanks to modern medicine many breast cancers can be treated successfully without impacting the life in a major way. However, the success of one's treatment depends critically on early detection. The earlier breast cancer is detected the better off you are. One simple way to increase your odds of early diction is performing a breast self examination on a regular basis.

The purpose of breast self examination is early detection of changes that might signal a condition that needs further investigation by either a professional clinical exam, mammogram or other diagnostic tool. Any changes could potentially indicate an abnormality. But to be able to determine what is abnormal one must know what is normal. Normal varies from individual to individual even though there are commonalities.

The first step in conducting a proper self-exam is to know what your own breasts feel and look like in general. Each and every part of the body goes through subtle changes on a regular basis. Throughout the menstrual cycle these changes might be exaggerated. Breasts may become enlarged and even more sensitive. If you start your self-exam a few days prior to your period every month it will become a habit. If you are post-menopausal you should choose the same day each month to perform the exam.

Stand in front of a mirror unclothed and make a visual inspection. Look for changes in the size of only one breast. Normal menstrual cycles and other hormonally related variation will usually affect both the same. Look for any changes in size or color of the nipple or areola (the darker skin around the nipple). Note any wrinkling or 'orange peel' appearance that is not due to cold temperature. Most areola are round. Look for any lack of symmetry.

Squeeze a nipple gently noting any fluid that might come out. Some lactation is normal in some women. Yellowish, pus-like fluid is not normal and you should call your physician for further examination. It could just be a simple infection but it could also be the early sign of a developing tumor. Make sure and do this procedure on both nipples.

Continue to look for any such tumors by feeling carefully over the surface of the entire breast with the arms lowered. Take in not just the surface from the breastbone to side, but up toward the armpit as well. Press firmly with the finger pads and move the hand slowly, feeling for any thickening or lumps.

A lump could be nothing more than a simple cyst which is a fluid filled tissue sac. Often cysts are round and palpable. They are typically benign even though you might want to have them removed. Cysts usually fade spontaneously over time.

Cancerous lumps tend to be harder and less regular in shape. They are frequently attached to breast tissue. Not all hard lumps are cancerous either, so don't be unduly alarmed. Many are just what are called fibroadenomas, a benign clump of cells. Professional tests are required in order to know for sure.

Be very aware of any lumps that you notice changing in size. Cancer is malignant, uncontrolled growth and reproduction of cells in tissue. Cancerous tumors do not remain static, but instead increase in size and later can potentially spread to other areas of the body.

Continue your self-exam by raising the arms over your head and applying pressure all the way from the breastbone to the armpit again. Make sure you do this on both sides and breasts.

While lying down you should perform the procedure again. First lower your arms, and then raise them overhead. Make sure to feel any changes, especially in instances where tissue has become hard. The procedure can also be done in the shower in an attempt to reduce the amount of friction on the skin, but I can sometimes be difficult to find changes or lumps with water beating up against your skin. You might want to use baby oil or lotion to reduce friction instead.

Women age 20 and over should be performing breast self-exams on a regular basis, and women over 40 should get a mammogram annually.
About the Author
Can there really be a natural way to fight cancer cell ? Yes, fucoidan, was proven scientifically to do just that. The extract from brown seaweed. Visit my site at Alternative Cancer Treatment see how this wonderful food is backed by more then 600 indepandent research.
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