95% of breast cancers can be cured if found early enough, that’s why early detection is so important. The more familiar you are with your breasts, the sooner you can detect potential abnormalities.
But there’s somebody who may be more “in touch” with your chest than you are, your partner! It is well known that a large percentage of breast cancers are detected by a woman’s lover. We say, use his breast addiction to your advantage. Next time, ask him to examine you. He could help save your life and we bet he’ll have a blast in the process. (If by some fluke he still needs convincing, tell him that it counts as foreplay.)
So print this easy guide and put him to work. Remember that the optimal time for a breast exam is one week after the start of your period.
* Have your partner lie on her back, with her left arm behind her head, and place a rolled-up towel or small pillow under her left shoulder.
* Place the pads (where your fingerprints are) of the first three fingers of your hand, on the collarbone, right above her cleavage.
* Move your fingers together in a circular rubbing motion (in dime-sized circles) without lifting up your fingers. Do three circles, varying the pressure from light to medium to hard, per spot.
* Without lifting your fingers, move down to the spot just below the area you examined. Repeat the last two steps.
* Examine the entire left side of the chest, moving outward in an up and down zigzag pattern (imagine the breast is divided into vertical stripes).
* Make sure to examine the entire chest area, including the breast itself, the part between the breast and underarm, the underarm itself, and the area above her breast up to the collarbone and across to the shoulder .
* Repeat on the right side.
* Post-exam caresses and kisses are welcome and encouraged… Hmmm, make that mandatory!
* A monthly exam is sufficient, but feel free to repeat these steps as frequently as you see fit.
While regular breast self-exams (BSE) are great, they should not replace mammograms and clinical breast examinations, which remain the most reliable methods of finding breast cancer.