Exam time!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Exam TimeEarly detection is one of the greatest tools a woman has in the fight against breast cancer. Depending on how soon the cancer is found, it could increase survival rate to up to 95%.

PinkDrive, a Public Benefit Organisation committed to improving education and awareness of breast cancer, has two mobile breast check units, which drive around Gauteng and the Western Cape offering free scanning and education. The main aim of the Early Detection Saves Lives programme is to provide women in various disadvantaged communities access to education and the opportunity to learn how to do a breast self- examination.

Here are their on how to perform a self examination:

1. Stand in front of the mirror and look at your breasts. Lift your arms above your head as though trying to reach the ceiling and look at your breasts in a stretched position.
2. Check to see that there are no obvious changes between the two sides: no nipple changes or visible lumps.
3. Now feel your breasts. Use the flat surface of your fingers. Always keep your hand flat on your breast. Apply cream, shower gel, soap or oil to your breasts before starting to feel. This will help your hand glide easily over your skin and make it easier to feel for any lumps.
4. Put one hand on your head. The free hand will check the opposite breast.
5. Start feeling in the armpit.
6. Now move in the figure of a six and around the entire breast, until you reach the nipple.
7. Now go back to the armpit, moving from top to bottom of the breast, covering the whole area once again.
8. Last one now, move from the armpit in a side-to-side direction, again covering the whole breast. The breast starts from the collarbone, down to your abdominal wall and from your breastbone to mid way through your side.
9. Also check if there is a discharge from the nipple. To do this, gently squeeze the nipple to see if any fluid comes through. The only time there should be something coming out of the nipple is when you are breast-feeding. If the fluid is yellow or green it shows infection. If it is clear or blood stained go straight to the doctor for a check up.

What to look for

A lump in the breast or armpit, sizes vary from a marble to a tennis ball
Increase in size of one breast
Swelling of glands in armpit
Enlargement of one arm
Dimpling of the skin
Dimpling of or changes to the nipple
Discharge from the nipple
Lowering of one breast or nipple
‘Orange peel’ appearance to the skin of breast and or nipple
Retraction of one or both nipples
Dry skin (eczema) of the nipple

Image: Shutterstock.com

Written by

Megan Kakora has helped launch the websites of, and been the online editor for, some of South Africa’s biggest glossy magazines. She believes in less-is-more, except when it comes to her collection of nail polish colours.
Megan on Google+

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  1. ricebunny

    Thanks for this article to create awareness

    5 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    Where do they offer free examinations in Johannesburg ? Does anyone know?

    5 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    Very important information, Thanks, much appreciated!

    5 years ago •

  1. JamieBaby

    Thank you for this article. Need to look after ourselves in all ways. Self exams are important!

    5 years ago •

  1. Maddy

    Thanx for reminding us girls to do a selfexam.

    5 years ago •

  1. Tasha

    Have been convincing everyone to do this tests. Really helpful.

    5 years ago •

  1. Lady-T

    Thank you, every woman needs to be reminded of this cold serial killer

    5 years ago •

  1. Humphreys

    How awesome is this! Print and paste in your bathroom..

    5 years ago •

  1. Sam

    What a wonderful article. Every woman should know how to do a self exam.

    5 years ago •

  1. DIVA

    thanks for the article, very formative.

    5 years ago •

  1. BeautyBloggess

    Great tips for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

    5 years ago •

  1. Tasha

    I am going to pass it on to my girl friends. We should look after our boobies!

    5 years ago •

  1. CharlieW

    Thank you for this article! Self exams are so important!

    5 years ago •

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