How to Carry Out a Breast Self-Exam

Many women are at risk of developing some form of breast cancer over the course of their lives. Here are the basic steps to perform in a breast self-exam:
Check for any possible changes in the appearance of your skin, shape or texture. 4. Taking your time, raise one arm and systematically examine the opposite breast (left arm, right breast, etc.) using the pads of your first two fingers. 6. Repeat the systematic examination with the opposite arm and breast.
With the opposite hand, repeat the massage technique to check for lumps and bumps. When it comes to the breast self-exam, you may use a light lotion to allow your fingers to glide more smoothly around the breast.
Source: Hanne Klein

Gyn Examination - Do I Need This Annually and What Happens During the Exam?

The first part of your annual exam should include your "History." Have you lost or gained weight? Do you do breast self -exams (hopefully) and if so, have you found any lumps or other irregularities? Has your weight changed? Maybe you need a weight loss diet and exercise prescription. Is it too fast, as with an overactive thyroid or heart problem? Is your heart irregular? Finally, what is your blood pressure? The next part of your exam is the actual physical. Do your eyes, ears, nose, and throat appear normal? How does your heart sound? Are there varicose veins or ankle swelling? The next part of the exam is the breast exam. The physician will examine you both sitting and reclining. He will look for any unusual dimpling, lumps, unusually tender nipples or nipple discharge. The next part of the exam is the GYN exam. Once again the physician is looking for any evidence of abnormal tissue or infection. That helps screen if you have any pain, mass or any anatomical shifting. This allows the doctor to tell if the uterus or ovaries are enlarged or hardened, or if you have any pain, and if further testing such as an ultrasound is needed. If the cervix is tender to back and forth movement, this could suggest that PID is present.
The final part of this exam is usually a digital exam of the rectum. The physician will look for hemorrhoids, abnormal growths (i.e. potential signs of cancer of the anus, etc.), and will do a slide test for occult blood from the rectum.
Finally, the physician will recommend laboratory tests. If thyroid problems are suspected, he or she may recommend a T3, T4, and FTI. Again, all of this is for discussion between you and your physician based on your age group, your general health, history, and physical exam.
So, there you have it: The annual female exam.
Source: J. Drew Laurusonis, M.D

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