Monday, October 25, 2010

MEN: Getting To Know Yourself - Self Breast Exam For Males

Image Credit: breastimpressions.com
As a Male, one of the most important exercises you can perform for and on yourself is to do a self breast exam – yes men do have breast! We all hear women being told to examine their breast monthly but it is equally if not more important for men.  Since men are not prescribed annual or bi-annual mammograms no matter what their age, the closest thing to finding a lump or change in their breast is themselves.

Male Breast Cancer is often more progressed as well as more fatal since it is discovered much later as no one is really looking.  Other types of cancers don’t show themselves as easily and so it is understood why diagnosis can be so difficult. Men can even be alerted to possible Prostate Cancer thru simple blood test showing higher PSA levels as well as an exam.  It’s also important to take your own risk factors into account such as family history, genetics and lifestyle.  So who’s checking your breast?

When was the last time you saw your family physician or internist and they performed a breast exam on you? Or thought to show you how to check yourself? The steps are simple and can be completed in just a few minutes, especially once you become familiar with your own body.  You can also be more creative with your breast examination by including a girlfriend, wife, significant other or partner. Exam one another! 
How To: Male Self Breast Exam
Step 1: Begin by standing in front of a mirror with your arms on your hips to tighten your chest muscles and inspect yourself.  Watch for any changes such as dimpling, swelling and areas around the nipple. Raise your arms above your head and continue to examine your breast and arm pit areas.
Step 2: Move around the breast in a circular motion with the fingertips.  You can perform this in either an up and down method, a circular or a wedge pattern, but try to be consistent using the same method each time. In addition, check the nipple area for any discharge. Complete on both breast.
Step 3: In addition to standing, you can also examine your breast lying down. To do so, place a pillow under your right shoulder and bend your right arm over your head.  Then with your fingertips on your left hand, begin checking by pressing all areas of the breast and armpit.  Once completed on the right, move the pillow to under your left shoulder and repeat the same process.
Performing a monthly breast exam for early and possibly any detection may be a life saving experience for the prevention and treatment of Male Breast Cancer.  IF you should notice any changes or feel a lump, see your physician so they can examine you.  But now you know your breast better than anyone else.  If your doctor recommends waiting and you don’t feel comfortable with that, express your concerns to proceed further. Often the next step(s) would be to have an Ultra Sound performed and/or possibly a mammogram.

Self examination just may save your life since no one else is looking!

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