Many people thrive on routine in their daily lives. It’s always easier to remember to do something when you integrate it into your normal routine, which is why it’s important to add a monthly breast self exam and regular skin checks to your personal health checklist. Here at The Woman’s Clinic, we want to help you understand why these self-exams are important, what to look for, and how to look.
Why Should You Do A Self-Exam?
The American Cancer Society recommends that women of all ages, regardless of age or health, become familiar with their skin and breasts with the following methods.
It is important to understand how your breasts look and feel on a normal basis. By doing self-exams monthly, you can determine if there are changes in the size, feel or shape of your breasts and report them to your doctor. If your doctor determines that there are abnormalities, they can follow through with additional exams or screenings. Self-exams should be done once a month, in the shower, in front of a mirror and lying down. Check to see if there are any visual changes, skin changes or lumps. You should feel for lumps by moving the pads of your fingers in a circular motion around the entire breast and armpit.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and it has been consistently on the rise during the past few decades. By using the ABCD’s of skin care, you can perform regular checks on yourself and partner to aid in the early detection of skin cancer. Become familiar with moles or non-healing scabs with the following helpful hints:
A — Asymmetry: Melanoma lesions are often irregular.
B — Border: Melanoma lesions often have irregular, difficult to define borders.
C — Color: Multiple colors can be an early warning sign.
D — Diameter: Melanoma lesions are typically greater than six millimeters.
If you do detect something out of the ordinary, it is important to visit a doctor to have it examined and possibly biopsied. In the meantime, it’s also important to make sure that you practice safe skin care routines. Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps, and make sure you use sunscreen or wear a hat whenever you are out in the sun.
The team at The Woman’s Clinic strives to treat all aspects of women’s health, including breast and skin care. If you have any questions regarding your health, your healthcare routine or family history of certain cancers, please contact us today so we can schedule an appointment to discuss this with you.