Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the Philippines, according to the Department of Health.
In 2020, there are about 27,000 new cases of breast cancer recorded in the Philippines. Of which, over 9,000 have died.
Based on a study conducted by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, many Filipino women still lack access to preventive screening for breast and cervical cancers despite the emergence of modern medicines.
Breast self-examination plays a significant role in the screening early detection of breast cancer, as this can prompt you to seek professional help.
Here are some ways to self-examine your breasts:
- While in the shower
Check the whole breast and armpit area with the pads/flats of three fingers using gentle, medium, and hard pressure. Every month, look for lumps, thickenings, stiffened knots, or other changes in the breast.
- In front of a mirror
Place your hands to the side and look at your breast. Take note of any color or contour of the breast changes. Look for dimpling, skin abnormalities in the breast irrigation, and changes in the nipples.
Then, relax your palms and flex your chest muscles. Look for dimpling, puckering, or other changes, especially on one side.
Keep in mind that breasts are not absolutely symmetrical.
- Lying down
Breast tissue aligns with the chest wall when lying down. Put a cushion on the right side of your shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Check the right breast with your left hand’s three middle fingers.
Feel for lumps, hardened knots, or other changes with gentle, medium, and strong pressure. Squeeze the nipple to see whether it has an unusual discharge. Repeat on the opposite side.
If you feel or detect anything else in your body, immediately seek medical attention.