Saturday, March 24, 2007

Breast and Testicular Exams

Each year the incidence of breast and testicular cancer impacts hundreds of thousands of lives. Many times these cancers seem to hit without warning and are found only in a progressed stage.

With current knowledge and medical ability, this does not have to be the case. Early detection is the key in effectively dealing with cancer. Performing self-examinations, in addition to first maintaining routine check-ups and advice from your physician, can be greatly beneficial for you.

Examining Your Breasts

Always keep in mind that self examination IS NOT a suitable replacement for professional medical examination. Self-tests should only be used to enhance existing medical care and provide additional awareness. Prevention is key when dealing with cancer, thus any possible preventative measures can be beneficial.

If you choose to do routine self-exams, it is suggested that you speak to your physician, at length, to ensure you are correctly applying techniques. You should also wait a period of 3 to 5 days -unless otherwise suggested by your doctor- after your period to test your breasts. The overall value of doing self-test breast exams is indeed debated, though professionals tend to hold them as a viable option for detection.

1. Lie on your back, placing your right hand behind your head. Using your left hand, follow the motions in the chart below in examining your breasts. You should be feeling for any unusual thick or lumpy area. Repeat the process, switching hands, for your left breast.

2. Sit-up and begin to examine the area under the armpit. As archived by the National Library of Medicine, many may fail to realize that breast tissue extends under the armpit. Do not skip this step of examination.

3. Stand in front of a mirror and do a visual inspection of the breasts. You should look out for any unusual lumps, indentations, warping of skin, or odd changes in the shape of the nipple or discharged fluid.

If you observe any change that is of concern, set up an appointment with your doctor. When dealing with the possibility of cancer, there is no such thing as having irrelevant questions or concerns. Men should also be aware of the incidence of male breast cancer. Do not dismiss any changes you are concerned about.

Discussion with a doctor, along with mammograms (especially if you are over 40), are great steps to prevention, early detection, and ensuring better quality of life.
Click Image For Full Scale (Contains Anatomical Nudity)

Examining Your Testicles

Testicular cancer is an issue that often gets overlooked by young men. Though risk factors, such as family history and race, are predetermined, early detection is key in optimizing treatment.

According to the Medical College of Georgia, in the last 25 years testicular cancer has risen over 40%, accounting for 20% of all cancer in young males aged 15 to 35. This makes testicular cancer the most common cancer in this age group and raises the value of proper testing.

Self-tests are not a suitable replacement for tests conducted by a trained physician. Testing should be used as enhancement to routine visits and examinations by your doctors. As always, if you even think you notice a significant change or a warning sign, promptly set-up an appointment to have it professionally analyzed.

There is no such thing as an irrelevant question or comment when regarding your health.

1. Be aware of the internal structures of this region, namely the epididymis. This is the sensitive and soft, rope like tube that carries sperm. You will feel it toward the back of each testicle. It is normal. Also, as you probably have noticed, it’s cool and common for one testicle to be larger.

2. Many professionals suggest doing a self-test following a hot shower or bath, as the scrotum should be relaxed. Make sure you are only examining one testicle at a time.

3. Lightly grab a testicle and roll it within the fingers, using both hands. Specifically, put your thumbs on the top of the testicle (as indicated in graphic) while reaching your other hands behind it to grab and then roll.

4. Remember, you will feel the epididymis. This is normal. Feel for any unusual bumps, swelling, toughness, or lumps. Unusual lumps may be very small, so take your time when examining. If you feel unusual pain or discomfort, during or even any time outside of doing your test, allow your doctor to know as soon as possible.

Treating cancer is always better with early detection. Make sure you take steps toward preventing cancer from residing undetected by following proper advice from your physician and taking time to note changes in your body.

Medical College of Georgia: Testicular Cancer
National Cancer Institute: Testicular Cancer Information
National Institutes of Health: Breast Cancer

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