People think that if they have breast cancer, they may have other symptoms alongside a breast change, such as feeling tired, having less energy or weight loss, but this is not the case. If you notice any changes in your breast, then it’s always important to visit your GP immediately. Because early detection is key in the treatment of breast cancer. But How to Identify Breast Cancer ? is the question rises in our mind. Don’t worry! there are steps you can take to detect breast cancer early when it is most treatable. Hence, read on to know how to check breast cancer at home.

how to check breast cancer

Breast Self Examination

A breast self-exam (BSE) is a method that allows an individual to examine one’s breast tissue for any physical or visual changes. Most of the women feel that doing this test is important to their health. It is also used as an early detection method for breast cancer. Both males and females must perform this test at least once every month starting at the age of 18. Because a regular examination of your breasts on your own can be an important way to identify breast cancer early when it’s more likely to be treated successfully.

Read more: How to detect the symptoms of breast cancer?

Not every cancer can be found this way, but it is a critical step you can and should take for yourself. So, try to perform this breast self-examination once a month to familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally look and feel. Also, examine yourself several days after your period ends, when your breasts are least likely to be swollen and tender.

Breast self-examination steps

The best time to do a self-breast exam (BSE) is about 3 to 5 days after your period. But you should do it at the same time every month. Because your breasts are not as tender or lumpy at this time in your monthly cycle. So, follow the given steps to check for breast cancer. By following these steps, you can get a solution to the question How to Identify Breast cancer?

Step-1:

First of all, look at your breasts in the mirror keeping the shoulders straight and the arms on your hips. You have to observe that whether your breasts are in their usual size, shape, and color. Also, make sure that your breasts are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling. If you have observed Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin or a nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple, then consult your doctor. Also, if you have observed redness, soreness, rash, or swelling in the breasts, then bring them to your doctor’s attention.

Step-2:

Now raise your hands and look for the same changes. When you look at the mirror, look for any signs of fluids such as watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood coming out of one or more nipples.

How to press breast

Step-3:

The very next step to identify breast cancer is that you should feel your breasts while lying down. First of all, use your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter. Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

Must know: Causes of Breast cancer

Step-4:

Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery. So, they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast with your hands and repeat the hand movements as described in the previous step.

Repeat this exam every month. After following these steps, if you find anything new or different then discuss with your doctor right away and detect it early. In case if you find any lump, Don’t get panic. Because about 80% of lumps found during the Breast Self Examination (BSE) are not cancerous. So, consult your doctor immediately for further evaluation.

How to Identify Breast Cancer in Male ?

Although this cancer is associated with women, men can also develop the breast cancer, but it is very rare. By identifying symptoms and performing a breast self-exam at home, you can recognize male breast cancer. Hence you can get a diagnosis and treatment for the disease on time. Most of the men who have breast cancer may develop it after they reach 65 years. If you have a liver disease like cirrhosis, then it increases female hormones in your system thereby increasing the risk of Breast cancer. Doctors also don’t know the causes of Male Breast Cancer, then How to Identify the Breast Cancer in Men ? is now the common question that arises in our mind. The only solution is identifying the signs and symptoms of Male breast cancer or doing the self examination of breast.

Know more: Stages of breast cancer

You may notice the changes in your breast through some everyday activities such as during shower or while changing the clothes. Simply follow the self breast exam steps as mentioned above. Keeping an eye on your breasts and skin can alert you to perform a breast self-exam and see your doctor. If you have observed thickening of your breast tissue or found a lump or getting pain in your breast or inverting of the nipple, then you may have high chances of getting the disease. So, perform the breast check up frequently to detect the breast cancer early.

Breast Cancer Pictures
Breast cancer detection

Breast Cancer Diagnosis

If your doctor thinks that you have breast cancer, then he or she will perform a clinical breast exam and order further testing. Doctors use different types of tests to diagnose the breast cancer and find out if it has spread or metastasized to other parts of the body beyond the breast and the lymph nodes under the arm. Some tests may also help the doctor decide which treatments may be the most effective. After the diagnosis of cancer, the doctors will reveal all of your results. If the diagnosis is cancer, these results also help the doctor describe the amount of cancer in the body; this is called staging. The diagnosis of breast cancer consists of Imaging tests, Blood tests, Biopsy, Scans, and X-rays.

How to Check Breast Cancer by Imaging Tests

Doctors will identify breast cancer by performing some Imaging tests such as Mammography, Ultrasound, and MRI scan. Also, some other new tests are being studied for breast imaging. But these are in the earliest stages of research. It will take some time to see if any are as good as or better than those used today.

Must read: Advanced techniques of breast cancer

Mammography

If anything unusual is found, the doctor may order a diagnostic mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray image of your breasts. Diagnostic mammography is similar to screening mammography except that more pictures of the breast are taken. It is often used when a woman is experiencing some symptoms such as a new lump or nipple discharge.

Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Ultrasound

If you have cancer under the age of 35, then doctors will suggest you a breast ultrasound scan. The reason is younger women will have denser breasts, which means a mammogram is not as effective as ultrasound in detecting cancer. The ultrasound technique uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the breast tissue, i.e., inside of your breasts. This method helps in checking breast cancer by showing any lumps or abnormalities and distinguishes whether you have cancer or a fluid-filled cyst.

 MRI Scan

MRI Scan uses magnetic fields, not x-rays to produce the detailed images of the body and measures the size of the tumor. A special dye named a contrast medium was sent into the patient’s vein before the scan to help create a clear picture of the possible cancer. A breast MRI may be used after a woman has been diagnosed with cancer to check the other breast for cancer or to find out how much the disease has grown throughout the breast.

 How to Detect Breast Cancer through Biopsy ?

A biopsy is the best diagnosis technique to identify Breast cancer. Under this, doctors will remove a small amount of tissue from the breast and examine under a microscope. Then a pathologist will analyze the samples. If the cells are found to be cancerous, then the lab will also determine what type of breast cancer it is, and the grade of cancer. There are different types of Biopsies available which were classified based on the technique or needle used to collect the tissue.

Types of breast cancer

  • A fine needle aspiration biopsy uses a thin needle to remove a small sample of cells.
  • A core needle biopsy uses a wider needle to remove a larger sample of tissue. This is usually the preferred biopsy technique for finding out whether an abnormality on a physical examination or an imaging test is cancer.
  • A surgical biopsy removes the largest amount of tissue among those mentioned above. This method may be incisional or excisional. This may be the removal of a part of the lump or entire lump.
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy is a way to find out whether cancer is present in the lymph nodes near the breast.
  • Image-guided biopsy is used when a distinct lump cannot be felt, but an abnormality is seen with an imaging test, such as a mammogram. During this procedure, a needle is guided to the location using mammography or ultrasound or MRI to detect the Breast cancer.

Some Additional Tests to identify Breast Cancer

Doctors will recommend some additional tests to identify breast cancer. But these are for the patients in later-stage disease. Most patients with early-stage breast cancer do not need additional imaging tests.

X-ray

An x-ray is used to create a picture of the structures inside of the body with a small amount of radiation. This test is used to look for the cancer whether it has spread from the breast to lungs.

Examine Breast Cancer

Computed Tomography (CT Scan)

CT scan is used to look for tumors in the organs outside the breast such as lymph nodes, liver, lungs, etc. It creates a 3D picture of the inside parts of your body with a special x-ray machine. A computer then combines these images into a detailed, cross-sectional view that shows abnormalities, including most tumors.

Bone Scan

This test is performed to check whether the cancer has spread to the bones. A radioactive dye or tracer is injected into the patient’s vein. Then the scan is performed several hours using a special camera. The tracer collects in areas of bone that are healing, which occurs in response to damage from the cancer cells.

Read more: Complete study on breast cancer

Your GP may also conduct some blood tests such as Complete Blood count, serum chemistry, Hepatitis, and blood tumor marker tests to know more about the disease.

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