Technological advancements have led to increased chances of surviving cancer and early detection of the illness enhances survival rates significantly, therefore, learning how to check yourself for this condition is vital.
Many forms of cancer are treatable when detected early. A routine examination, which is conducted regularly, can be particularly important especially with regards to testicular and breast cancer. Self examination should be conducted each month, and if any changes are noticed they should be discussed with a GP.
- Breast cancer can be detected in its early stages when a woman examines herself regularly. Firstly, you should stand in front of the mirror and look for any noticeable changes in the breast. Look for physical changes such as the size, shape and color of the breast. Examine the nipples looking for any swelling, redness or inflammation. Also, check for signs of discharge from the nipple. In breast feeding mothers however, this discharge is normal.
- Next, lie down and place your left hand behind your head. Using the pads of three fingers on your right hand, rub firmly in a small circular motion moving outwards from the nipple, and around the breast. Check small areas at a time. Continue outwards and check the armpit area also. Repeat the process, placing your right hand behind your head and checking your right breast with your left hand, proceeding to the armpit.
Examining The Testes
- Testicular cancer is most common in men aged between 20 and 35. Again however, regular examination can lead to early detection. The examination should be conducted whilst in the bath or shower as the water softens the skin and the scrotum. Start by examining the scrotum, looking for any lumps and swellings. Hold the testes and scrotum in the palm of your hands and look for differences between them. It is perfectly normal to have one testicle larger than the other or, to have one testicle lying lower than the other. Examine each testicle by rolling gently between your thumb and forefinger. The testicles should be smooth and free from lumps or swellings