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Health tip: How to self-test for breast cancer

Breast cancer is the top cancer in women both in the developed and the developing world, the incidence of breast cancer is increasing in the developing world due to increase life expectancy, increase urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles.

Figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that breast cancer impacts 2.1 million women each year, and also causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women.

In 2018, it is estimated that 627,000 women died from breast cancer – that is approximately 15% of all cancer deaths among women.

However, medics assure that for early detection, both women and men should be able to self-test for breast cancer and immediately seek medical support if they notice something unusual.

“Some of the symptoms of breast cancer include change in size or shape, a lump (area that feels thicker than the rest of the breast), redness or rash on the skin and/or around the nipple, liquid that comes from the nipple without squeezing and pain in your breast, your armpit among other signs,” said Josephine Murekezi, a nurse at Oshen- King Faisal.

Below are different ways people can use to self-examine their breasts.

In the mirror

Stand straight in front of the mirror and visualise the breast by checking the size, colour and shape to see if there are any changes. Feel for changes in the breast. It helps to have your hands slippery with soap and water.

Check for any lumps or thickening in your underarm area. Place your left hand on your hip and reach with your right hand to feel in the left armpit. Do the same on the other.

Lying down

Lie down and place a small pillow or folded towel under your right shoulder. Put your right hand behind your head. Place your left hand on the upper portion of your right breast with fingers together and flat. Body lotion may help to make this easier.

In the shower

With hands soapy, raise one arm behind your head to spread out the breast tissue. Use the flat part of your fingers from the other hand to press gently into the breast. Follow an up-and-down pattern, moving from bra line to collarbone. Continue the pattern until you have covered the entire breast. Repeat on the other side.

Related Story : All set for Annual Ulinzi Walk on Breast Cancer Awareness

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