«Cancer is preventable. Only regular examinations reduce the risk of developing a tumor in the mammary gland. Every woman with the achievement of the first menstruation and until a very old age should visit a mammologist once a year»
Modern approaches in mammology
Breast examination is recommended at the beginning of the menstrual cycle because hormone-dependent changes in the structure of the mammary glands occur during the month. Self-examination is better to be done on day 5-8 from the beginning of menstruation, when the mammary glands are less swollen and sensitive. For menopausal women, it is done in the same week of each month.
The purpose of the self-examination is a careful examination of the breasts and a timely visit to the doctor when abnormal changes in the mammary glands are detected.
The first step is the examination of the underwear. Minor discharge from the nipple - transparent and cloudy yellow - is acceptable. Unwanted ones are brown, black, or anything related to blood.
The second step is the examination of the mammary glands. Be sure to pay attention to the symmetry of both breasts. If there is no fixation or displacement of one of the mammary glands to the side. Pay attention to possible changes in the shape of the breast with the formation of elevations, depressions, retractions of the skin or nipple area.
The third step is the condition of the skin. It is necessary to check the elasticity of the skin, how well it gathers in a fold. Pay attention to changes in the color of the skin, the presence of redness of its entire surface or separate areas, whether it has diaper rash, changes in the form of ‘lemon peel’. Palpate the skin for lumps, swellings, dimples or bumps on its surface, tightness, ulcers, or wrinkled skin.
The fourth step is palpation of the mammary glands in a standing position. At first, a so called superficial palpation-stroking is carried out, with the fingertips not penetrating into the thickness of the mammary gland. This is followed by a deep palpation where the fingertips gradually reach the ribs.
The fifth step is palpation of the mammary glands in the supine position.
The sixth step is the examination of the breast nipple. Examination of the nipples should determine whether their shape and color have changed, whether there is retraction, weeping, ulceration or cracks in their area. It is necessary to palpate the nipple and the area under the nipple.