No doctor or machine knows your body as well as you do. According to the AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY, "Most breast lumps are found by women themselves and most lumps are not cancer."
Many women do not do breast exams because they do not want to know if there is a lump. This does not make the lump go away, and it does not make a lump benign (not cancerous).
HOW TO DO A BREAST EXAM
#1. Lie down and put a pillow under you right shoulder. Place your right arm behind your head.
#2. Use the finger pads (the top third of every finger) of your three middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps or thickening.
#3. Press firmly enough to know how your breast feels. Learn what your breast feels like most of the time (the breasts tend to change slightly during various times during your cycle).
Note: a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast is normal.
#4. The best time to do a breast self-exam is right after your period, when your breast are not tender or swollen. If you do not have regular periods or sometimes skip a month, do it on the same day every month.
#5. Move around the breast in a set way. You can choose any of the following patterns.
(A) Walk your fingers in a circular motion much like marking out a bulls eye.
(B) Walk your fingers up and down in a line.
(C) Walk you fingers in a wedge pattern starting at the nipple and going back and forth like marking out cutting a pie.
#6. Gently squeeze the nipple to check for any discharge such as: blood, lymph fluid or pus.
#7. Now examine your left breast in the same fashion using the right hand's finger pads.
#8. If you find any change (not just a lump), the AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY suggest that you see your doctor right away.
There is no one better way, but you should do it the same way every time.
Make sure that you have examined every portion of the breast.
Do it monthly so you will remember how your breast should feel.
FOR ADDED SAFETY
You should also check your breast while standing in front of a mirror right after you do your breast self-exam each month.
For mirror examination put your hands over your head
See if there are any changes in the way your breasts look such as: The basic shape of one breast compared to the other, dimpling of the skin, changes in the nipple, or redness or swelling. Then put your hands on your hips
and exam in the same fashion.
You might also want to do a breast self-exam while you're in the shower. Your soapy hands will glide over the wet skin making it easy to check how your breasts feel.
WHAT IF I FIND A LUMP?
Most lumps are not cancerous. However, I would treat all lumps as being potentially malignant (cancerous).
Many cancerous tumors are self contained and are in a type of sealed pack. If a biopsy is done while the tumor is still in the patient and it ismalignant some of the cancer can escape into the circulatory system and can then spread.
If a doctor wants to do a biopsy, insist that he removes it intact and then cut into it once it is out of the body.
If he refuses, find a good doctor who will listen to and respects his patients.
If it is proven that the tumor is cancerous I would get 2 doctors' opinions and two natural health practitioners' opinions and study out the next course of action.
WHAT IMPROVES THE HEALTH OF THE BREAST?
Vitamin E with Selenium is important to the breast. Many women have taken approximately 1200 IU. to help reduce or prevent soreness or fibroid cysts. Vitamin E aids in immune function and normalizing hormonal production.
Eating fruits and vegetables can help you get enough vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium into your diet.
Vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium all act as antioxidants, which can protect your cell membranes and DNA from damage. These important nutrients can be found in many foods and eating a balanced, healthy diet can help you make sure you are getting enough of each. Vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium can be found in many fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin important for good health. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects vitamin A, vitamin C as well as important fatty acids, which are important components of your cell membranes. According to J. Anderson, professor of food and nutrition at Colorado State University, good sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils, leafy green vegetables, nuts, whole-grain products and egg yolks. As with vitamin C, if you eat a well-balanced, healthy diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables, your diet will contain adequate amounts of vitamin E.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, selenium is an essential mineral that, when combined with vitamin E, acts as a powerful antioxidant, which protects your DNA from damage from free radicals. Selenium also helps with your thyroid health and is important for your immune system. Good dietary sources of selenium include fish, such as tuna and halibut, garlic, whole grains and shellfish. Because selenium is destroyed when foods containing it are processed, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends regularly eating whole, unprocessed foods. Most adults need approximately 55 micrograms of selenium to meet the recommended dietary allowance.
A good balance of estrogen and progesterone is important for the maintenance of breast tissue.
Exercise keeps the lymphatic system working efficiently.
A properly fitted bra is essential for lymphatic draining.
There is a very close correlation between the health of the liver and the health of the breast.
One of the many functions of the liver is to discard mutated or used hormones including estrogen. It is believed by many that it is not estrogen but rather mutated estrogen that feeds abnormal growths in the breast, cervix, uterus and ovaries.
Possible indication of liver involvement would be poor ability to sleep at night and poor night vision.In addition for women, clotty or heavy periods and/or tender breast.
WHAT IS DETRIMENTAL TO THE HEALTH OF THE BREAST?
A high fat diet is associated with breast cancer.
Underarm deodorants keep toxins in and the limited lymphatics in the area, are kept too busy cleansing debris to nourish the breast tissue properly.
Caffeine from coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate are noted to cause or at least contribute to fibroid cysts of the breast.
SUPPLEMENTS FOR THE BREAST
Although total fitness is the best defense for preventing abnormal growths of any kind there are certain herbs or combinations that have been used quite successfully for enhancing the health and healing of the breast.
Ultrasound to the breast, is THE most efficient way of detecting tumors and cysts.
Never rely solely on mammograms.