Often we find our lives so busy we forget about taking care of ourselves. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, it’s the perfect time to remind ourselves that monthly breast checks are a critical component to women’s health.
In the United States, about 1 in 8 women develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. According to the Susan G. Komen, most breast cancers grow slowly and by the time women finally notice a lump, the cancer is very aggressive.
No one wants to look for cancer, but incorporating the thought process of checking yourself routinely could save your life. In fact, a recent study found that 40% of breast cancers are diagnosed after a woman has felt a lump in her breast on her own, without having a mammogram. To help get in this mindset, don’t think of this as an exam—think of it as a massage instead.
Breast self-massage offers a way to let go of tension and get the lymph fluids flowing. It can be done simply by lying down on your back. The breast tissue will then spread out evenly along the chest wall.
Place a pillow under your right shoulder so it can relax, and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light to firm pressure. Work around the outside starting at the armpit, under part, and then inner part of your breast, around the nipple, and back toward the armpit. Now repeat the self-massage on your left breast in the same manner. Using a bit of oil such as coconut oil will help your fingers glide better.
This self-massage technique can be done anytime. During certain times of the month our breast may become more lumpy than others, so know that it may take more time to get to know ourselves and the changes that our breast go through at different times during the month. If there’s something that catches your attention, give your healthcare provider a call and make an appointment. Have a yearly mammogram done in addition to your self-massage sessions. Take action and take care of your-self. Exercise, eat right, de-stress, be in nature, and enjoy your life!