Performing Routine Self-Exams

Performing Routine Self-Exams

Taking care of your health is a lifelong dedication. Sometimes after everyone’s mid-twenties, it hits home that we all have to start taking appropriate care of ourselves. Life drives this point home more and more as we age until we begin to take the appropriate steps to ensure we’re as healthy as we can be. This involves changing our diets and learning to find an exercise routine we can sustain. Doing all of this will improve our health, but you should never forget that there are other aspects to caring for your health. You need to take the time to perform routine self-exams to stay alert of particular forms of cancer that can be particularly insidious. This allows you to increase the chances of early detection and therefore appropriate treatment that bypasses the worst of the diseases.

The Goal
Breast cancer and melanoma are two particularly insidious kinds of cancer that are easily missed if one doesn’t perform routine checks. Most of us do our best to avoid the habits that can increase the chances for any kind of cancer. It is a sad fact that simply living long enough increases the chance of getting cancer and makes it almost inevitable for many people. Routine self-checks are ideally performed each month or every two months depending on what you can manage. Both melanoma and breast cancer have forms of self-check that anyone can perform. They are able to be performed on one’s own or with aid depending on your particular abilities. We’ll be discussing the basic overviews of these self-checks and anything you may need for them in the rest of the article.

Skin Self-Exam
Checking for melanoma is something anyone fond of the sun needs to do relatively often. You may wish to start relatively early with this self-exam to be on the safe side. It is relatively easy and most of the time you’ll simply need a full-length mirror or a large enough handheld mirror to examine most of your body. The aid of an intimate partner can also help. The primary way of looking for melanoma involves looking for the formation of new moles or irregular dark spots in the skin. You can generally determine new mole formation based on if you remember the mole. Most people are familiar with all their permanent moles by the age of 30 as they seldom change much after that. Moles that have grown, look irregular, or have changed color needed to be reported to a medical professional. You should also stay aware of irregularly colored patches of skin that exhibit similar behaviors. Growth, irregular edges, and shifting colors over time are all signs that need to be investigated. You simply strip and look over all over your skin carefully for these signs.

Breast Self-Exam
Breast exams are somewhat more complicated, but also require a mirror. They start with a simple visual examination of the breasts in the mirror while the shoulder are held straight and the hands are on your hips. Changes to size, shape, and color are what you’re looking for as well as any visible swelling or inflammation. After this initial check, raise your arms above your head with the hands clasped to look for similar signs. During both of these, stay aware of any discharge from the nipples. Most self-checks then advise you to lay down for the next portion of the exam. Use your left arm to carefully provide a smooth yet firm circular touch around the full area of the right breast, including from side to side, and ensure you go all the way to the armpit. Then do the reverse. The final step involves doing this same pattern while standing. Any lumps, hard spots, and tenderness are points to bring up to your doctor.

Self-exams are as crucial a component of taking proper care of yourself as ensuring you’re eating a balanced diet and getting appropriate exercise. Good diet and exercise will go a long way to decrease your odds of particular kinds of cancer while good skin care will make melanoma less likely to happen. You would do well to remember that you still need to perform self-exams. This will help safeguard your health and ensure you a longer and healthier life.

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