Breast lumps can be described as a bump, bulge, knot or localised swelling in the breast.
Breast lumps can occur in women of all ages. These are caused by hormonal changes, infections, injuries and cancer cells. Most breast lumps turn out to be benign or non-cancerous, yet, one should never dismiss a lump without getting it tested.
Self-examination is one of the ways to identify lumps in the breast, although, the only way to be certain is to have a breast biopsy. Women should look for changes on their breasts to check if there is any development of a lump. Breast lumps feel distinctly different from breast tissue, which is somewhat lumpy on the upper inner aspect of the breast.
Breast self-examination for checking lumps
Self-examination to check breast involves checking breasts to figure out problems or changes. It is done to identify lump or change in appearance whichindicate breast conditions that may require medical attention (such as mastitis, fibroadenoma or breast cancer).
The procedure of self-examination involves checking your breasts for lumps or changes on breasts while standing and lying in different positions. For breast self-examination, remove all your clothes above the waist and lie down. Lying spreads breast tissue evenly over your chest wall, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.
This can also be done while looking at your breasts in a mirror to note any changes in their appearance. If there is anything unusual than what your breasts normally look and feel like, report it to the doctor. He/she will conduct clinical breast examinations (CBE) and mammograms.
Thorough breast self-examination takes practice. To perform breast self-examination correctly, you should ask your doctor for tips.
When to examine your breasts
One week after your menstrual period begins is considered to be the best time to examine your breasts. This is when your breast tissue is least likely to be swollen or tender. Women, who have irregular menstrual cycle or stopped menstruating due to menopause or the removal of your uterus (hysterectomy), should do the examination on a day of the month that's easy to remember.
Those who are pregnant or nursing can examine their breasts every month. They should only examine their breasts after feeding or after using a breast pump so that the breasts have as little milk as possible. This also makes the examination easier and more comfortable.
When to consult the physician
Consult a doctor if you feel a breast lump is large in size or painful. When you notice any sort of difference in your nipple appearance or experience any kind of nipple bleeding, get it checked by a doctor.
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