Every year in October, the world comes together to join in the fight against breast cancer. We don our pinks and pins, march, run, fundraise, love and cry in honour of the sisters, friends, mothers, aunties and grandmothers we’ve saved and lost. Breast cancer is sometimes labelled the saddest of all the cancers by doctors, and that is because if caught early, it can be one of the easiest-treated cancers, one of the most preventable. That’s why this time around when Flair met with the good Dr Henry and his colleague, Dr Jody-Ann Jarrett, the chief medical officer at Sylvan Family Care, we discussed the importance of the ‘self-check’ and learned ‘How-To’ do one.
If you’re an adult woman, no matter how young you are, you should not only know your breasts, you ought to check them as well. A startling statistic was revealed, that Jamaican women were being diagnosed for breast cancer from as young as 25 years old. We don’t want to scare you, we want to energise you! Check your breasts!
According to Dr Jarrett, there are three ways to do your self-check. The mirror check, where you stand before a mirror and examine your breasts. The shower check, where you give your breasts an exam in the shower (apparently the best results come when the skin is nice and slippery!) and the reclined check, where you lay back and perform your self-check (something you can do before you sleep or when you wake up).
THE SHOWER CHECK
First: Raise your arm up, elbow to the sky and get comfy! Give yourself a nice natural breast lift (if only temporary).
Then: Using the pads of three fingers of your opposite hand, you want to – in a circular motion – feel around the entirety of the breast then up into your armpit.
You’re feeling for lumps and bumps, anything that may be out of the ordinary. As Dr Jarrett says, sometimes what you may feel aren’t even cancerous, but if you do feel something, see your OBGYN as soon as possible! You never know and it’s best to be safe than late!
THE MIRROR CHECK
Here you’re doing a visual check. You’re looking for any visual changes to the breast. Dimpling, swelling or puckering. You also want to look for changes in your nipple or nipple discharge, which if you’re having unusual discharge you should get to your OBGYN! You’ll want to raise your arm above your head, like the shower check, to do a thorough self-screening.
Laying down is when you may get the best feel – pun intended – for your breast. Just like with the shower check, you’re going to want to raise your arm behind your head and with the pads of your fingers, firmly, in circular motions, check the entire breast, including the armpit.
For all three of these, make sure you check both breasts. No favourites allowed!
Story by: Danik Frazer