Breast cancer: Why women should self-examine their breasts regularly

Breast cancer: Why women should self-examine their breasts regularly

… Expert says men can also get it

In order to detect breast cancer before it becomes a big challenge, a medical expert has urged women to constantly examine their breasts on their own.

While stating that breast cancer is one of the commonest cancers that affect women, the expert said self-examination would help the individual to detect any form of lumps which could be cancerous.

Speaking during a health seminar organised by a church, Victoria Island Worship Center, VIWC, of the Assemblies of God in Lagos recently, one of the experts, Dr Uchechukwu Onyema, said that it is recommended that every woman should have breast self-examination done regularly noting that cancer is not a death sentence if detected early.

According to him: “Past records have shown that there are about 38 million survivors of different types of cancers including breast cancer and that means that people who recovered fully from cancer can live their normal life.

Speaking on the procedures to examine breasts, he said: “You need to start by first observing any physical changes in the breast. Then, the next stage is by touching. Ideally, breast tissue should be spongy. So, whenever you feel the breast and you feel any hardness, you need to notify a doctor.

“Then, you can lie down, put one hand behind your head and feel the breasts. With this done regularly, it will be difficult to miss out on any form of breast cancer. And the second stage is a clinical breast examination where there are other procedures.”

Symptoms

Onyema noted that early breast cancer may not present any symptoms.

He said: “The symptom may present like a lump. But when a lump is discovered, it needs to be examined thoroughly because it is not all lumps that are cancerous.

“There could be an increase in the affected breast or reduction in size of the affected breast. Other symptoms include changes in the skin around the breast, nipple inversion or retraction, nipple discharge especially if it is bloody, lumps around the armpit and weight loss.”

He said it can spread to other areas like lung, bones and this will present symptoms like cough, difficulty breathing.

“If it spreads to the spinal cord, it can affect the nerves and cause numbness. If it spreads to the bones, it can lead to stroke. It is something that is multi systemic,” Onyema said.

Also, another medical expert, Dr. Esther Ohihion, who works with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, said men should also watch out for changes in their breasts as they can also develop breast cancer.

Ohihion said: “I have witnessed that a few times in my medical career over the years.”

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