S.H.E.: Carson Health breast health navigator offers tips on self exams

By Ryan Schlehuber "Scoop" • Last Updated 10:53 am on Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It is well documented breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women (lung cancer being the first) and is the most common cancer next to skin cancer, according to cancer.org.

Andrea Lindhout, a registered nurse and breast health navigator at Carson Health in Carson City said 3 percent of all breast cancer cases each year are men.

To help stay healthy a person should know how to preform breast self-examinations.

“It’s very important to do a monthly check-up and to do the same routine every time,” Lindhout said.

The following are Lindhout’s most important tips in performing breast exams:

• You can examine your breasts lying down, standing up or while you’re in the shower, just as long as your routine is the same each month.

• Starting at age 20, every person, men and women, should begin performing monthly breast exams.

• Breast exams should be done at least once a month, and on a scheduled routine. For women, because of the sensitivity and hormonal changes happening during a menstrual period, the best time to do a self-examination is a week after a period.

• For those who don’t have periods, schedule a self-examination on the same day each month.

• Doctors suggest feeling the breast in a circular motion but you should also feel back and forth, like a lawn-mowing pattern.

• Include the outer and upper quadrants of the breast, especially the armpit. Most cancer is found in the upper and outer areas of the breast.

• Seeing something different is just as important as feeling something different. Sometimes, it’s not always found by touch. There can be dimpling, change in contour and any noticeable differences from one breast to the other.

• During exams, gently squeeze each breast to see if there is any discharge from the nipple. If there is, notify your doctor.

• For pregnant women, they are going through so many changes and seeing doctors enough that they should have their breast examined often enough. However, any questions or concerns should always be followed up with your doctor, even if just as a precaution. Breasts can change so much during pregnancy, from enlargement and color of the areolas to even veins showing up. Pregnant women can also experience leakage of a yellow substance.

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