Cancer of the breast is the most common cancer among Jamaican women. There were 1208 new cases of Breast cancer in Jamaica in 2020. A breast lump is the usual sign noticed when an individual goes for investigation. But regular screening for breast cancer is recommended starting at age 40 years. In general, women can do self-breast exams at home. On their visits to health facilities, regular clinical breast examinations can be done, and if an abnormality is noted, further investigations can be done and referral for treatment as necessary. In general, mammograms are offered for screening from age 40 years up. Mammograms are also used for diagnosis in his group. However, younger women have other options for investigation of breast lumps.
Breast self examination (BSE)
Breast self examination is an important tool for our women (and men). A breast self examination should be done every month. Please see the following link to a breast self examination guide: https://practicalmama.com/2006/10/are-you-doing-your-monthly-breast-self-exam
Steps to the breast self examination
- Stand in front of the mirror and look at the skin of the breast. Look for dimpling, scaling, redness or any discolouration of the skin
- Examine the shape of your breasts, first with both hands pressing behind the head, and then placed firmly on the hips
- Raise your left arm and place the left hand behind your head. Use 3 or 4 fingers of the right hand to explore the left breast in a circular pattern, starting from the outer sections of the breast and moving towards the nipple (Remember to also explore the underarm, where some breast tissue, in the tail of the breast is located). Check for any lumps or masses.
- Squeeze the nipple lightly to check for any discharge from the nipple
- Repeat steps 3 and 4, this time with the right arm raised and the right hand placed behind the head, using the fingers of the left hand to explore the right breast.
- If any lumps, discharge or skin abnormalities are noted on breast self examination, please go to your health care practitioner for a Clinical Breast Exam and referral as needed for further investigations.
The Jamaica Cancer Society is a partner of the Ministry of Health and Wellness. It is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides select cancer diagnostic and treatment services, raises public awareness around cancer, and provides counselling and support services for cancer patients and their families.
They can be contacted at:
Address: 16 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston 5,
Phone: (876) 927-4265/ (876) 927-8152/ (876) 927-3317/ (876) 978-5895/ (876) 927-9275
Fax: (876) 978-1918