The continuous technological progress in the medical field and the increasing reliance on highly precise scientific machines is gradually leading to forget the actual importance of self-knowledge of the body.
Usually, when we talk about the health of our body, we feel unprepared and helpless but the first step to notice any changes is to know ourselves carefully, know how to check our body periodically and how take care of it, as everyone does, for example, with his own home. By “playing", to an autonomous investigation, each of us has the opportunity to help themselves and contribute in the difficult fight of prevention.
After October, traditionally dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer prevention, that saw numerous noble initiatives taken by many associations involved in this field, the topic continues to remain of extreme importance.
Almost the whole scientific world totally confirms the importance of self- examination, or Breast Self-Examination (BSE), as first line of prevention. It is essential that procedures like this stop being part of a series of taboos involving parts of our body because, although it is not a diagnostic method which can be defined as certain sensitivity and accuracy, it remains a basic weapon that everyone has and can use.
Everyone? Yes, even if in a much smaller percentage, breast cancer can also affect men.
Breast self-examination, recommended from the age of 20, consists of two processes: observation and self-examination. It is recommended to proceed with this type of examination monthly. For women, the best time is a couple days after the end of the menstrual cycle or, in the absence, on a fix date. Here is a short “to do list” in order to keep in mind how to carry out this simple but useful procedure:
- During the observation phase, carried out in front of a mirror with the hands headed firstly tightly on the pelvis, then above the head and finally along the hips, you can search for the presence of some changes in the shape, colour of the breast skin, any swelling, changes in the nipples or any other type of modification (such as leakage of liquid) .
Then you can proceed with the self-examination. This phase can be practiced both in an upright or supine position.
- It is recommended to start by placing the right arm behind the neck and, with the help of the left hand, palpate the right breast looking for any abnormal masses or changes in the tissue’s consistency. In order to make this process even more precise, it is advisable to proceed with your fingers extended and with an "up and down" movement in a vertical manner and with circular movements. During the analysis, it is important to cover the largest surface possible, up to the axilla and to repeat the process with three different levels of pressure intensity with the aim to reach also the deepest tissues. Once that you finish with the right breast, it is possible placing the left arm behind the neck to proceed with the left one.
Even if this type of practice is useful and worldwide used, should not replace regular checks carried out by specialists and/or specific tests, which are essential for the correct diagnosis of any anomalies.
This time too, can come from information technology a practical help: various apps are available on different stores (IOS, Android) that help users to remind periodically to check themselves and to indicate the correct procedure. They are functional, intuitive apps that take up little phone memory: they have a nice graphic and sits perfectly next to the many games and entertainment applications. Good company and many benefits for us, you should definitely try them!
Information written in this article does not replace the instructions and advices of your doctor. For more material or clarifications, contact your family doctor or a specialist.
Articolo a cura di: Marco Terrana