There are more than 2.9 million women in the U.S. living with a history of breast cancer, and it’s the most common form of cancer among American women – often most commonly detected at home, in the shower, and probably even in the bedroom. Poking, prodding and feeling for breast lumps is one of the most effective ways to detect breast cancer at its earliest stages, and thanks to “touch-ups” like these, the American Cancer Society says survival rates are well into the 70th percentile.
Breast cancer at its earliest stage often shows no symptoms other than small (usually painless) tumors, so it’s essential to feel yourself up at least once a month. And that’s where breast cancer prevention gets fun.
Turn this important task into a treat by using sensual massage to self-examine for lumps and bumps and (if you’ve got one) invite your partner to lend a hand. Try using your favorite massage oil and make the experience feel way better than your doctor’s basic breast exam.
Plus, the National Breast Cancer Foundation says that 40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected this way, so reach out and touch yourself. No really; do it right now
· Stand up straight and with the pads of your fingers, follow a circular pattern around your entire breast starting from the outside to the center. Feel for any lumps, thick bits or hard knot-like bumps.
· Stand in front of a mirror and check yourself out. Turn to the left, now turn to the right, and lift your arms to look for any swelling, dimples or areas that look wonky. Keep in mind that your breasts aren’t a matched set (no woman’s are!) so it’s OK if they look different from each other. Just look for parts that don’t look like the usually do.
· Lie down on your back and put your right arm behind your head. With your left hand, make little circular motions around the entire breast and armpit area and don’t forget to squeeze your nipple, too. Then switch and do the same with your left arm behind your head and right hand doing the prodding. Feel for the same lumps and bumps that you did while standing up.
If you feel something out of the ordinary, don’t fret. Call your gyno and get a check-up – he or she will be able to tell whether it’s something to take seriously.
And if you don’t feel something, don’t stop feeling yourself up! The breasts and nipples are incredibly sensitive erogenous zones, so why not get handsy and celebrate your proactive health-conscious habits?
Little known (but such an incredibly cool) fact: Scientists found that rubbing/flicking/licking the nipples activates the same part of the brain as when you rub/flick/lick your clitoris! That’s right; touch your nipples or diddle your clit – your brain’s gonna react the same way. And we all know how important it is to get the brain on board when you’re getting busy. Giving yourself a self-exam can actually feel sexy – there’s nothing hotter than being good to your body (especially your breasts) – so think of it as foreplay for life.
We hope you love your boobs as much as everyone else does! They’re getting checked out more than you think – watch Nestle Fitness’ new #checkyourselfie campaign for proof! – so check yourself out, too. You’ll feel so much better! (In more ways than one!)