Breast cancer is the uncontrolled growth of breast cells and occurs as a result of abnormal changes or mutations in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells and keeping them healthy.
Normally, the cells in our bodies replace themselves through an orderly process of cell growth: healthy new cells take over as old ones die out. But over time, mutations can “turn on” certain genes and “turn off” others in a cell. That changed cell gains the ability to keep dividing without control or order, producing more cells just like it and forming a tumour.
A tumour can be benign (not dangerous to health) or malignant (has the potential to be dangerous). Benign tumours are not considered cancerous.
Malignant tumours are cancerous. Left unchecked, malignant cells eventually can spread beyond the original tumour to other parts of the body.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women.
Eat a balanced diet.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Limit your alcohol consumption.
40% of all cases of diagnosed breast cancer are detected by women who discover a lump which is why regular self-examination is so important.
How do I perform a breast self-examination?
01.In the shower
Using your finger pads, palpate your breast using circular patterns moving from the outer area of the breast to the centre. Palpate the whole of the breast and the armpits. Perform a breast self-examination every month to see if there are any lumps, a thickening of the tissue or knots. Take note of all changes and go to your doctor for an examination.
02.In front of the mirror
Carry out a visual inspection of your breasts with your arms by your side. Then raise your arms above your head. Look for any change in contour, swelling or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Now place your hands firmly on your hips in order to tighten your chest muscles. It does not matter if the breasts are not of the same size, this is in fact rarely the case, but look for changes such as dimpled or puckered skin.
03. Lying down
When you are lying down, the breast tissue extends evenly over the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move your finger pads around your right breast with small circular movements applying light but firm pressure, covering the entire area of the breast and the armpit. Squeeze your nipples and check if there is any discharge or lump. Repeat these steps on the left.