Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Finland. Anyone can get breast cancer, but it is more common in women. One in every eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer at some stage of their lives. However, breast cancer prognosis is improved with an early diagnosis. When you examine your breasts regularly you get to know your own lumps and bumps and this makes it easier to notice any possible changes.
Checking your breasts means examining them both visually and manually. Examine your breasts once a month. If you are menstruating it is advisable to examine your breasts immediately after your period. Keep a diary entry of your observations. There will be changes in your breasts with age and at different times of the month. Not all changes are a cause for alarm. If you should find any abnormal changes, please contact a public health nurse or a doctor.
Look at your breasts in a mirror with your arms at your sides and then with your arms high over your head. First from the front and then at both sides. As well as this, check under your breasts- Pay particular attention to the size and shape of your breasts. Look for possible changes in the skin and the nipples. Squeeze the nipples gently for possible discharge.
Check both breasts lying down. With fingers together, move the pads of your fingers around your breasts and sides. Do this in small sections so that you don’t miss any areas. Repeat this three times with your arm at your side, stretched out to the side and high over your head. If you find something abnormal, palpate it gently.
These symptoms may indicate breast cancer. The most common symptom is a lump, but there may be other symptoms as well. The symptoms may be visible, or you can feel them with your fingers. Therefore, use your eyes and hands when examining your breasts.
You may feel various changes in your breasts that are not signs of breast cancer. The most important thing is to know your breasts so that you can notice the changes.
We train self-examination mentors several times a year. Mentors teach how to do breast self-examination and motivate to make it a habit. If you are interested in becoming a self-examination mentor, please email us at info(at)tunnerintasi.fi.