Breast Lump Growth and how Regular Breast Examinations and Screenings Help

The rationale behind regular breast examinations and screenings isn't to check for cancer but to prevent it. In this video, I teach the warning signs, how most breast lumps can grow in size and turn into cancer in the absence of regular breast exams and screenings.

You can watch the video or read the transcript below

Examine your breasts monthly, It helps to prevent breast cancer. You’ve probably heard it a thousand times. You’ve tried  to do it, but you get confused not understanding what you felt and then after a while you gave up. You know it’s something you need to learn how to do but do you really understand why?  Do you know why you must do this every month.

My name is Stephanie Nyong, the Health Teacher. I’ll be explaining in detail why examining and screening your breasts regularly is important. 

First question for you, what is your biggest challenge when it comes to examining your breast? Could it be because you don't know how to, or you just never remember or better still you think it’s not so important, tell me in the comments section. I’ll like to hear it and also give you tips that can help

Simply put, it is for breast awareness. You need to know what your breasts feel like normally. Are they always soft? Are they lumpy always or at certain times during your menstrual cycle? What is the position of your nipples- Have they always faced inwards or is it just starting to do so. Are they the same size? If you do not know what your breasts feel like normally. You definitely will not know when something is wrong. 

So, if you follow me, you already know how much I like the phrase “Early detection is key!” I say this a lot because I know and I have seen a lot of women stay alive because they detected an abnormality early enough and I have also seen some others who didn’t, because they reported signs too late. 

In other words, a woman’s life can hang in that balance. 

I’ll show you quickly how most breast cancers happen using this image showing different fruits and their sizes

Image credit: National Cancer Institute

It starts from a lump as tiny as a pea measuring about 1cm, you never notice, you do nothing about it, it continues to grow in size. It grows into the size of a peanut 2cm, then to the size of a grape 3cm, from there to a walnut sized lump 4cm , still the lady doesn’t notice because she neither examines her breasts or screens them regularly. 

It doesn’t stop there but continues to the size of lime between 5cm to 2 inches, to the size of an egg, a peach and a grapefruit 10cm or 4 inches and it continues until it spreads to other organs in the body.

Contrary to what many think; The reason for having a breast examination or screening is not to look for cancer but prevent it.

MONTHLY SELF-BREAST EXAMINATIONS

MONTHLY SELF-BREAST EXAMINATIONS

To be done several days after a monthly period when breasts are no longer swollen. lumpy or tender

Breast screenings like the mammogram or ultrasound scan should be done yearly. A mammogram for women above the age of 40 and an ultrasound for women less than 40. It helps in detecting abnormalities at early stages when there are a lot more treatment options and a very high chance of survival. 

You should know that as it progresses, just like you saw in the picture above, options of treatment as well as chances of survival  begin to decline. 

MAMMOGRAM

MAMMOGRAM

For women age 40 and above
breast ultrasound

breast ultrasound

For women below the age of 40

So, here’s what I mean; at an earlier stage, a lumpectomy might be all you need. An incision is made to take out the lump and surrounding tissues because it is small and is contained. Once it is removed, the incision is closed and in a short while,you are back to living your life. 

lumpectomy

lumpectomy

You don’t do that early enough, it gets to the stage where you may need a single mastectomy, that is surgery to completely remove a breast or a double mastectomy to take out both breasts if it spreads and that may be in addition to other treatments like the radiotherapy and chemotherapy which isn’t cheap at all or even easy to go through and then in worst cases women have to lose their lives. 

Mastectomy

Mastectomy

It gets worse as it advances in stage!  

Back to the question now, why is it important. I believe you already know. 

If you are one of those people who say “what I don’t know won't kill me.” In this case, what you don’t know can kill you even faster.

A monthly breast examination and a yearly breast scan for women below 40 and a yearly mammogram for women above 40. It’s not too much to ensure that you are free from this disease. 

The earlier the better! Are you a guy watching this, pls be her reminder, I mean the woman or women in your life. Your wife, girlfriend, sister or friend. Ask her; Have you examined your breast this month? Have you had a mammogram or ultrasound for your breasts this year? You will be doing her a favour lol

You don’t know how to perform a breast examination, watch the video below for a step by step tutorial

If you need counselling, advice or wish to book an appointment for any of these purposes, you can visit us at our centre, call or send us a message using the details below this video.

Kiss cancer goodbye.

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Stephanie Nyong
About Stephanie Nyong 68 Articles
Stephanie O. Nyong is a seasoned health educator and content strategist at Health Platforms International where she empowers individuals especially women and girls with knowledge and skills to prevent and manage a number of health conditions. She is the founder of BE-ME Africa, a Breast Examination and Menstrual Education project for young girls. Stephanie also organises pop-up clinics regularly to provide affordable quality healthcare services to a target population. She is admired in the industry and has the capacity to deliver on the current demand for health literacy for improved health outcomes in Nigeria. You can connect with her across all social media handles @stephanie_nyong

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