Did you know that performing regular breast self-exams can help detect breast cancer early? A breast self-exam is a crucial step in maintaining breast health. By knowing how your breasts normally look and feel, you can spot changes quickly. However, it should not take the place of regular mammograms and clinical breast exams.

At Syracuse Hernia Center, under the expert guidance of Dr. Robert Weiss, a board-certified general surgeon, our team offers personalized care and advanced treatment options for a variety of breast conditions. If benign or cancerous masses are found in your breast, Dr. Weiss will skillfully remove them, ensuring you receive the highest standard of care. As we celebrate Women’s Health Month this May, it is important to highlight the significance of performing regular breast self-exams.

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If you are unsure about how to perform a breast self-exam, don't worry! We have compiled an easy-to-follow guide for you below. Read on to learn more.

Why Perform a Breast Self-Exam?

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women worldwide. According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. However, early detection and appropriate treatment can significantly increase the chances of successful outcomes.

By doing a monthly breast self-exam, you can familiarize yourself with the normal look and feel of your breasts. This makes it easier to detect any changes or abnormalities that may require further evaluation.

How Often Should You Perform a Breast Self-Exam 

Here's a simple guide on when and how often to conduct your self-exam:

  • Monthly Self Exam: Perform a monthly breast self-exam at the same time each month to more accurately track changes or abnormalities.
  • Best Time for Premenopausal Women: If you're pre-menopausal, the best time for a breast self-exam is 3-5 days after your period starts. Your breasts are less likely to be tender or lumpy then, making the exam more comfortable and effective.
  • Best Time for Post-Menopausal Women: If you've gone through menopause, choose a specific day each month for your exam. Sticking to the same day ensures consistency and makes it easier to remember.

Step-by-Step Guide for a Breast Self-Exam

Performing a breast self-exam is easy and can be done in the privacy of your own home. Simply follow these steps:

1. In the Shower

  • Use the pads/flats of your three middle fingers to move around your entire breast in a circular pattern from the outside to the center, checking for any lumps, thickening, or hardened knots.
  • Check both breasts and underarms for any changes or abnormalities.

2. In Front of a Mirror

  • Look at your breasts with your arms at your sides. Then raise your arms overhead
  • Inspect your breasts for any changes in size, shape, or skin texture. Also look for dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin.
  • Check your nipples and surrounding area for any changes or discharge.

3. Lying Down

  • When lying down, the breast tissue spreads evenly along the chest wall.
  • Use the same three-finger technique to feel for lumps, knots, or changes.
  • If possible, use a pillow to support your head and raise your arm on the side you are examining.
  • Repeat these steps on your left breast.

When to Seek Medical Attention

It is important to note that not all lumps or changes in the breast are cancerous. In fact, most lumps turn out to be benign (non-cancerous). However, if you notice any of the following changes or abnormalities during your self-exam, you must schedule an appointment with your doctor for further evaluation.

These changes include:

  • The lump is new and feels firm or fixed.
  • The lump doesn’t go away after 4 to 6 weeks.
  • You notice skin changes (crusting, dimpling, puckering, or color changes).
  • Fluid comes out of the nipple.
  • The nipple recently turned inward.

How Syracuse Can Help 

During a self-exam, if you find something concerning, it’s important to know where to get help. At the  Syracuse Hernia Center, we offer comprehensive care for benign and malignant breast diseases. Our approach is personalized, ensuring each patient receives the treatment that best fits their condition and needs.

Dr. Weiss is skilled in treating various conditions including:

  • Infections: We provide advanced surgical solutions for breast tissue infections, targeting complete infection removal and promoting optimal healing and recovery.
  • Cysts: Our team, led by Dr. Weiss, excels in the surgical removal of cysts. We employ precise techniques to ensure comprehensive removal, leading to improved health and well-being.
  • Tumors: Dr. Weiss excels in surgery for benign and malignant breast tumors, offering personalized treatment plans with dedicated support throughout the process.

Prioritize Your Breast Health With Syracuse!

Regular breast self-examination is crucial for women's health, aiding in the early detection of breast cancer and abnormalities. Knowing how your breasts normally look and feel helps you quickly spot changes needing a doctor's check. Remember, early detection can greatly increase the chances of successful treatment.

Should you find any concerning signs during your self-exam or need help in evaluating breast disease, the team at  Syracuse Hernia Center is here to support you. Under the expertise of Dr. Weiss, we offer comprehensive care for a range of breast conditions, ensuring personalized treatment tailored to each patient’s needs.

This Women's Health Month, prioritize your well-being by booking an appointment with Dr. Robert Weiss. Get personalized, comprehensive care focused on your health. Schedule your consultation now for peace of mind tomorrow.

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