How to do Self examination
In the Shower
Put your right hand behind your head.
Press your fingers firmly on your right breast and feel for any lump or thickening.
Repeat the procedure in your other breast.
In Front of the Mirror
Take note of any irregularity in your breasts’ appearance such as puckering, dimpling, or scaling by raising your arms, and clasping your hands behind your head.
Afterwards, gently squeeze your nipples and check for any discharge.
While Lying Down
Place a pillow under your right shoulder. Put your right hand firmly on your right breast. In circular motion feel for any unusual lump or mass. Check also the area between your breast and armpit.
Repeat the procedure on your left breast.
How is cervical cancer diagnosed?
Diagnosis of cervical cancer often starts with abnormal results from a routine Pap test (or smear). During a Pap test, your doctor scrapes cells from your cervix. The sample is sent to a lab and checked under a microscope.
Abnormal Pap test results could mean there are changes in the cells on your cervix. These could include:
- Inflammation (irritation). This can be caused by an infection of the cervix. These include yeast infections, HPV, the herpes virus, or many other infections.
- Abnormal cells. These changes are called cervical dysplasia. The cells are not cancer cells, but may be precancerous. This means they could eventually turn into cancer.
- More serious signs of cancer. These changes affect the top layers of the cervix but don’t go beyond the cervix.
- More advanced cancer. These cell changes extend into tissues beyond the cervix.
If the results of your Pap test are abnormal, your doctor may do a repeat Pap test. He or she may also do a cervical HPV test. This test can show if you have one of the types of HPV that can cause cancer. Next your doctor may want you to have a colposcopy. He or she will use a magnifying lens to look more closely at your cervix. They can also take a sample of tissue (biopsy) to test for cancer.
Cells of the cervix go through many changes before they turn into cancer. A Pap test can show if your cells are going through these changes. If caught and treated early, cervical cancer is not life threatening. This is why it is so important that you get regular Pap tests.
Get regular Pap tests
All women should get regular Pap tests. These can detect abnormal cells before they turn into cancer.
Certain things put you at higher or lower risk for cervical cancer. Your doctor will consider these when recommending how often you should have a Pap test. Most women can follow these guidelines:
- Every 3 years beginning at 21 years of age and continuing until 65 years of age.
- Within 3 years of when you start having sex if you are younger than 21 years of age.
- If you are between 30 and 65 years of age, you might be able to combine a Pap test with HPV testing every 5 years.
- If you are older than 65, ask your doctor if you still need regular Pap tests.