Guide to Breast Care and Health
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Know Breast Cancer's Warning Signals
: Self exam monthly - 7 to 10 days after your period begins
After menopause, always on the first day of each month
Gently squeeze the nipple of each breast. Check for any discharge, clear or bloody. Report any lumps, thickenings or discharges you discover during the examination to your doctor immediately.
With fingers flat, use left hand to press on imaginary clock face on your right breast. Check for lumps or depressions(hollows). A ridge of firm tissue in lower curve is normal. Move in an inch toward nipple and make a same cicling movement again and again until you reach the center. Repeat with right hand, left breast. (be sure to press firmly.)
To examine your right breast, place a pillow or folded towel under right shoulder and lay your right hand on your forehead, elbow bent and slightly forward. This distributes breast tissue more evenly on your chest. Move your hand down and then up all around the area shown. Repeat on other side.
BEFORE A MIRROR
Now raise your arms overhead. Look for changes in the contour of each breast as well as swelling, and dimpling of the skin and changes in the nipple.
BEFORE A MIRROR
With your hands at your sides, visually check for lumps, depressions(hollows). Then, placing palms on hips, press down firmly, flex your chest muscles and check again. Don't worry if your breasts don't match - chances are they will be a little different. IN THE SHOWER
Stand in the shower and with fingers flap(do not use the tips of your fingers)move your hand gently over every part of each breast. Check for lump, knot or thickening. Use right hand for left breast, left hand for right breast.
CANCER'S WARNING SIGNALS
If you detect any of the following in the above figures, see your doctor right away.
1. Check nipples for cysts, eczema, ulcers, discharge, bleeding, change in shape or location.
2. Check breast shape for change in size or contour, bulges, flattening, indentation(including arm pit areas).
3. Check breast surface for puckered skin, dimples, bulges, moles that have enlarged or darkened, lumps or thickening, sores.
This is a guide not intended as a replacement for professional care. For complete diagnosis and treatment, see your doctor.
Age 20-39 :
*Clinical breast examination by a health-care professional every three years
*Monthly breast self-examination
Age 40+ :
*Annual clinical breast examination
*Monthly breast self-examination
Note : Your doctor may advise changes to standard schedule based on personal family history
Mammography is one part of an early detection program that should also include clinical breast exams by a health care professional and always a monthly breast self exam.
Breast Cancer - The most frequently diagnosed cancer in woman - has a higher cure rate if caught in its early stages. Mammography can reveal a malignant tumor or cancer two years before symptoms appear.
Women with increased risk for breast cancer are :
*Women over age 50
*Women whose mothers or sisters have had breast cancer
*Women who are childless or who start their families after age 30
*Women who have had cancer in one breast
*Women who are overweight
**The odds of getting breast cancer dramatically increase with bra-wearing over 12 hours per day.
*Women who wore their bras 24 hours per day had a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer.
*Women who wore bras more than 12 hour per day but not to bed had a 1 out of 7 risk.
*Women who wore their bras less than 12 hours per day had a 1 out of 152 risk.
*Women who wore bras rarely or never had a 1 out of 168 chance of getting breast cancer. The overall difference between 24 hour wearing and not at all was a 125-fold difference.
*The only known risk factors for breast cancer are being female and growing older.
*Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths of women between the ages of 40 and 59.
*Estimates are that in 2004, there will be more than 39,600 women who will die from cancer - one every 13 minutes.
*Breast cancer affects men as well as women.
*Breast cancer is the most common cancer in African-American women and is the leading cause of death among Hispanic/Latina women.
Breast feeding and pregnancy cause full development of the mammary lymphatics. Also, women of higher economic status have higher breast cancer rates, and one would expect that they would wear their bras more hours per day. Women who excercise have lower risk, which could relate to better lymphatic circulation (more breast movement).
Lymphatic circulation in many tissues (especially the primary lymphatics) are highly dependent on MOVEMENT. When you sit for a long time on an airplane flight, your feet and ankles can swell, because lymphatic circulation goes to near zero. Wearing a bra, especially a constricting one with underwires, and especially to bed, prevents normal lymphatic flow and would likely lead to anoxia (lower than normal oxygen content), which has been related to fibrosis, which has been linked to increased cancer risk.
Women evolved under conditions where there was BREAST MOVEMENT with every step that they took when they walked or ran.
Every subtle bounce of the breast while moving, walking, running, etc. gently massages the breast and increases lymphatic flow and thus cleans the breast of toxins and wastes that arise from cellular metabolism.
Of course, there may be other mechanisms for the damage that bras apparently cause. One such mechanism could be temperature. Breasts are external organs and have a naturally lower temperature. Cancers can be temperature-dependent. Breast cancer is hormone-dependent. Temperature can alter hormone function. Breast temperature changes throughout the monthly cycle.
The best protection is early detection.
MrBra.com offers this information for all women to maintain a healthy and long life.