Following is a guide to performing a breast self-exam:
• Stand in front of a mirror and inspect both breasts for any changes in shape, color, nipple discharge, puckering or dimpling of the skin.
• Watch closely in the mirror as you press your hands on your hips. Check for any of the above changes.
• Lie down and put a pillow under your right shoulder. Place your right arm behind your head.
• Use the find pads of your three middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps or thickenings in your right breast.
• Press your fingers on the breast using three levels of pressure: light, medium and firm.
• Move your fingers around the breast in a specific up and down pattern the same way every time to ensure you’ve gone over the entire breast.
• Examine these areas: from your underarm to lower bra line; across to the breast bone up to the collar bone; and back to your armpit.
• Examine your left breast using the finger pads on the right hand and follow the same steps.
Some women do this exam in the shower because when fingers glide over soapy skin, it can be easier to concentrate on texture.
If you find any changes, see your doctor right away.
Series of Hope is presented throughout the month of October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month - by Atlanta Aesthetics.
CUMMING -- Northside Hospital-Forsyth is partnering with the American Cancer Society as part of a free initiative to help female cancer patients look and feel better.
For the last 25 years, patients have had the opportunity to be pampered while undergoing treatment, thanks to the Look Good Feel Better program, which strives to improve “the quality of life and self-esteem of people undergoing cancer treatment,” according to the program’s website.
More than 50,000 women throughout the United States take advantage of this program annually.
Look Good Feel Better was first developed in 1989 by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, a charity established by the Personal Care Products Council.
The American Cancer Society and Professional Beauty Association have since signed on, partnering with the foundation to provide group, individual and self-help beauty sessions for cancer patients.
The group programs consist of step-by-step makeover learning sessions, which are led by cosmetology professionals.
Cosmetologists also answer any questions participants may have — such as how to fill in or draw in eyebrows or how to camouflage particular types of pigmentation — and send every patient home with a free makeup kit.
The program touts its accessibility and high quality, with “brand-name cosmetics to use during the session and to take home, helping minimize shopping time and expense,” its website says.
While the individual sessions also include makeover tips, those workshops are more individualized, with trained cosmetologists working one-on-one with patients to customize and personalize their particular beauty needs.
Patients are given more in-depth instruction, such as what makeup helps with what pigmentation and other specifics, individual to the patient.
Individual sessions also focus on hair styles and how patients can cut and shape wigs to best suit their face structures.
Those who choose to wear a head scarf also receive tips and tricks to tie the scarf, helping make it unique and fashionable.
The program holds around 15,000 workshops yearly and boasts 150,000 hours of volunteer work.
More than 150 companies support the program as well, in an effort to make it accessible to every patient.
Northside hosts one workshop per month for women who are currently undergoing cancer treatment, about to undergo cancer treatment or have recently completed cancer treatment (chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other forms of treatment count).
Upcoming Look Good Feel Better workshops will be held on October 13, November 10 and December 8 from 10 a.m. to noon at Northside's Forsyth campus.
The program’s only requirement is that participants register in advance, for confidentiality and space-limitation reasons. Participants are asked to call 1-800-227-2345 to register.
Women can attend more than one workshop, but the hospital asks that participants bring their cosmetic kits with them if they plan to return.
However, “patients with a recurrence of cancer and who are receiving another round of treatment may attend another workshop and receive a new cosmetic kit,” the program’s website says.
For more information, visit lookgoodfeelbetter.org.