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Mar 10, 2011

Healthy Living gets a mammogram

Last week, Healthy Living listed four important medical tests each woman should get done. This week, still focusing on women’s health, we look at one practice that can be done at home free of cost that can save your life.

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Mammograms are the most effective way to detect breast cancer. Most doctors recommend a mammogram at the age of 40 or earlier if there is a family history of cancer. Occasionally, though, younger women can develop breast cancer; this underscores the importance of doing self breast examinations. Gynaecologist & Obstetrician, Dr Marcelo Coyi guides us through the proper technique of a breast exam.

Doctor Marcelo Coyi, Obstetrician & Gynecologist

Marcelo Coyi

“It’s important because breast cancer is the second commonest cancer in women and the early you detect the better the outcome the better the prognosis. 0.47 by the person  doing self examination we have technology that can detect it at a very early stage and if we detect it with just a lump it’s at stage one.  Any adult person should begin to get into the habit of doing breast self examination every month. And the best time of the month would be? Well the best time would be when the breast is not tender.”

There are two steps to examining your breast: Looking and feeling. The first step requires a mirror and good lighting and standing in front on the mirror with hands on the hips or behind the head.

Dr. Marcelo Coyi

“You look for things like puckering, which are an early sign of cancer, you’re looking for dimples, you look for changes in contour in the shape of the breast.  They get bigger they get smaller and you look for nipple discharge. You begin by that. The next step is to do to palpations or to touch the breast which again can be done standing in front of a mirror or lying down. The trick is to do all of the breast. The breast has a tail which we call the axilla which extends under the armpit.  So there are three methods we use. One is to do the breast in a circle. We begin on the outer part of the breast and you begin do a circle as you come close to the nipple and you do another circle until you reach the nipple. That’s one method in which you can examine the breast. Then there is the line method. You begin again on the outer part of the breast in the armpit. You go down you examine you go a little closer to the nipple then you go up and you come again towards the nipple and you go up and down again each time coming closer to the nipple and then you go on the opposite side. Then there ii the wedge examination where you divide the breast into wedges 8 wedges like a pizza where you go from the outer part to the inner wedge then you move to another wedge. That way you can examine all of the breast.”

Dr Coyi emphasizes to ensure the entire breast is checked and the examination carried out monthly.

Dr. Marcelo Coyi

“She would know if she does it monthly. She’ll then be able to detect a change whether in consistency, in hardening or in a lump.  The breast has 3 tissues it has milk tissue, where we make milk, fat tissue and fibrous tissue and any of them can give you a lump. The lump that you worried about is the one that come from the milk tissue because that can come from cancer but actually the commonest comes from the fibrous tissue what we call fibrocystic disease or fibroidenoma. So the probability can be that if you feel a lump it is a benign lump and it’s coming from the fibrous tissue but you don’t know the difference and is why as soon as you feel a lump you need professional advice.”

Feeling or seeing something out of the ordinary means it is time to see your doctor. But having a professional examination done at least once a year is also recommended as a part of your yearly check up.

Dr. Marcelo Coyi

“One: is that you know how the regular breast tissue feel . Two: you detect a lump and you seek professional lump that should it be benign should it be malignant it is the very early phase stage one and in stage one the outcome is a much better than if found in three or stage four. The earlier we detect it the better for the woman.”

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