Breast cancer has been a rapidly growing disease across the globe. If and when it metastasizes penetrates the lungs liver bones and ultimately leads to a painful and excruciating death. One in 8 women are now susceptible and even men are being diagnosed with the same. Many of us have a lost a loved one or watched them suffering extensively at the hands of cancer which if detected early could have prevented the suffering and pain. Here are some simple signs and preventive measures that can save you or your beloved.
Exposure to hazardous chemicals like gasoline, diesel and other vehicle exhaust, flame retardants, stain-resistant textiles, paint removers, and disinfection by products in drinking water are likely to increase your chances of getting the disease. One of the biggest sources of mammary carcinogens in the environment are benzene and butadiene, which can come from vehicle exhaust, lawn equipment, tobacco smoke and charred food. Cleaning solvents like methylene chloride, pharmaceuticals used in hormone replacement therapy, some flame retardants, chemicals in stain-resistant textiles and non stick coatings, and styrene which comes from tobacco smoke and is also used to make Styrofoam. As always prevention is better than cure so limiting exposure to exhaust from vehicles or generators, use electric lawn mowers, leaf blowers and weed whackers instead of gas-powered ones. Use a ventilation fan while cooking and limit how much burned or charred food you eat. Do not buy furniture with polyurethane foam, or ask for furniture that has not been treated with flame retardants. Avoid stain-resistant rugs, furniture and fabrics. If you use a dry-cleaner, find one who does not use PERC (per chloro ethylene) or other solvents. Ask for “wet cleaning, where possible. Use a solid carbon block drinking water filter. Keep chemicals out of the house by taking off your shoes at the door, using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, and cleaning with wet rags and mops.
It’s not always possible to avoid all these factors altogether but these simple breast examinations techniques should be deployed on a regular basis to avoid any lurking threats. The initial signs of cancer vary from a tenderness swelling to discoloured discharge and wilting of the skin. Remember to get regular mammograms at least once a year. Breast cancer might be genetically inherited so if anyone in the distant family ever had it please be very cautious. Here’s what you should look for,
Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.
Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:
Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling
Step 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
Step 3: While you’re at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).
Step 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter. Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage. Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage
Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.
Step 6: Check your arm pits, breasts and other adjoining areas for any nodules, lumps, cysts or unusual lesions.
Please remember it is not a taboo to discuss breast cancer or get it treated. So remember the mother who gave you birth, the wife who bore your children, the sister who worried about you all her life and your daughter who is the princess of your life deserve to prevent themselves from this curable menace.
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