Estimated reading time: 7 minute(s)
I once had a patient who said, “doctor my left breast dey look like orange ooo”. She said it as a joke but I knew I had to investigate further.
Breast cancer is one of the top three cancers that affect women. It is best managed with a good prognosis if detected early.
The easiest and cheapest way is to do a self breast examination. The best time to do it is after your menstrual period, because some breast changes occurs during ovulation and menstrual period.
The signs to look out for include:
- Change in skin texture and colour of the breast
- Breast swelling or lump
- Nipple changes and discharge: milkish, watery or bloody
- Ulcer, rash or wound
- Swelling in the armpit
How to examine your breast
Begin by lying on your back because it is easier to examine all breast tissue if you are lying down.
- Place your right hand behind your head and with the middle fingers of your left hand, gently yet firmly press down using small motions to examine the entire right breast.
- Next, sit or stand. Feel your armpit, because breast tissue goes into that area. Afterward gently squeeze the nipple, checking for discharge. Repeat the process on the left breast
- Next, stand in front of a mirror with your arms by your side.
Look at your breasts directly and in the mirror. Look for changes in skin texture, such as dimpling, puckering, indentations, or skin that looks like an orange peel. Also note the shape and outline of each breast.Check to see if the nipple turns inward.
Do the same with your arms raised above your head
It is important to do this often so that if anything changes you can detect and explain to your doctor. Breast cancer could happen to anyone however there are people who are at risk if they have the following;
- Carry certain mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
- A family history of breast, ovarian or other reproductive organ cancer
- History of breast lump or breast cancer
- Alcohol and smoking habits
- Extended exposure to oestrogen
It is important to not take any of these signs for granted, if you notice any changes or feel you are at risk please visit your doctor and the required investigations would be done.
ABOUT THE WRITER
She is the Executive Director of the Yemi Adeyemi Foundation which centres on Sexual and Reproductive health, the foundation runs the Brave Girls and Boys Club which delivers comprehensive sex education to young boys and girls. In April 2019 she ran a workshop TAASA (Taking Action Against Sexual Assault)
She has spoken on various platforms including TVC’s My View, Tedx Funaab, University of South Wales Student union conference.
You can follow through her Instagram account @@@@@ IG:https://www.instagram.com/dryemz