Morning Brew is read by more than 3 million people; you should too! When testing for breast cancer, people frequently overlook their nipples and armpits, a disease expert told Insider.
Dr. Marleen Meyers, a breast medical oncologist at NYU Langone, advised women to check their armpits and squeeze their nipples in addition to examining their breasts for changes.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS). , breast cancer is one of the most prevalent malignancies in the US, affecting one in every eight women. This year, 339,250 women are expected to receive a breast cancer diagnosis, and 2.5% of those women will pass away from the disease.
People are encouraged to regularly check their breasts so they can acquire accustomed to them and notice any changes. But according to Meyers, who is also a clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone, the nipples and armpits frequently go unnoticed.
WHEN CHECKING YOUR NIPPLES, BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR DISCHARGE. The nipple is considerably more difficult to inspect for lumps and bumps, although Meyers advised gently squeezing the nipple to check for discharge.
According to Meyers, nipple discharge is not necessarily brought on by cancer; it can also occur in women who are nursing after giving birth.
She added that postmenopausal women should seek medical assistance if they experience nipple discharge.
REMEMBER THE “TAIL OF THE BREAST” People sometimes neglect to check the “tail of the breast,” according to Meyers, by feeling under their arms.
We all understand that breast tissue predominates on the chest wall, but the breast tissue itself is actually shaped more like a teardrop, with the tail or end of the breast extending nearly to the armpit, she explained.
According to Meyers, there are additional situations where the lymph nodes under the armpit expand momentarily, such as after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to Meyers, a lump in the area above the collarbone may be a sign that breast cancer has progressed to lymph nodes other than those seen under the arm. However, she added that it would be “extremely odd” to feel something in the collarbone without changes to the breast and that a viral infection was more likely to be to blame.
REGULARLY CHECK YOUR BREASTS While pre-menopausal adults are advised to check their breasts in the midst of their menstrual cycle, Meyers acknowledged that there are no hard and fast guidelines for how frequently people should do so.
Simply be conscious of your breasts, she advised, and check them frequently.
Meyers advised systematic palpation of the breasts, covering all parts of the breast with the pads of the fingers rather than the fingertips.
A doctor should be consulted as soon as possible if you experience any signs such as an inverted nipple, a difference in breast size, or any pain, soreness, or redness, according to Meyers.
It’s crucial to be conscious of how your breasts feel, but Meyers advised not getting alarmed if anything changes.
According to her, benign lumps can feel the same as cancerous ones, and their consistency can alter over the course of a person’s cycle and as they age.
WHEN STARING AT YOURSELF IN A MIRROR According to Meyers, individuals can examine themselves while bathing, lying down with their hands above their heads, or in front of a mirror.
“What I advise my patients to do is to simply begin by standing in front of a mirror and examining their breasts—noting the size, noting the nipples, noting the skin. “The most crucial part about it is to make sure you’re not rushed and that you have time to do this,” she said, adding: “Is there anything that feels or looks unusual to them?”