Please note, we have shifted the entire early detection pages onto the site of The Pink Initiative. You will find a lot of information on all forms of breast symptoms (lumps, nipple discharge, skin changes, etc.) on that website - The Pink Initiative: Early Detection of Breast Cancer . We have summarized it in brief for you, in this present section, especially the Guidelines page, but we would definitely urge you to visit the link of 'The Pink Initiative: Early Detection of Breast Cancer' page highlighted above.
BREAST SELF EXAMINATION
What is 'Breast Self Examination (BSE)' ?
Breast self examination is a systematic examination of the breast, at regular intervals, aimed to familiarize a woman with her breasts and aid in early detection of any abnormality.
When do I start 'Breast Self Examination' (BSE) and how often is it done?
As mentioned earlier, the aim of a BSE is to familiarize a women with her breasts which will help in early detection of any abnormality. Ideally, after age of twenty, BSE must be done by a lady once atleast every month. And atleast once a year, a clinical breast examination by a medical professional should be done. These are only guidelines, and may not always be feasible for a normal person.
The best time to do a BSE is during a bath, which will give a woman a reasonable time to be alone with herself and concentrate on this. Even though a formal BSE may not be done every time, being aware of the characteristics of the breast will allow woman to pick up any abnormality early.
Is Breast self examination useful, and does it help in reducing cancer?
Well, there are many studies which point out that BSE is not useful and also recommend that it need not be done. However, the idea of BSE is not to stringently do it every month, but to make a lady aware of features of her breast
What are the steps in 'Breast self examination'?
The CPAA (Cancer Patients Aid Association) has an excellent presentation explaining breast self examination in detail. Please click HERE to go to concerned page on CPAA's website, and look for the file titled "How to check your breasts." It is available in three languages: English, Hindi, Gujarati.