The Lemon Project is Run for the Cure® Foundation’s education initiative to bring greater awareness about breast cancer. Many have heard of breast cancer; however, not many know what symptoms to look for or how to conduct self-examinations. This educational session provides information about the signs of breast cancer and how to conduct self-examinations, using lemons! The campaign material used is designed and contributed by Worldwide Breast Cancer.
A DOZEN SIGNS of BREAST CANCER
Do you know anything about breast cancer?
How can you detect abnormalities? What do anomalies relating to breast cancer look like? What does breast cancer feel like?
We have used lemons to help you better understand – and recognize – the signs of breast cancer.
What would you usually do first in a breast self-examination?
– Yes, that’s right! You’d stand in front of the mirror to notice any changes, such as irritation, swelling or discharge.
Speaking of changes, what kind in particular should you be aware of?
The lemons below offer the answers!
ANATOMY of THE BREAST
After examining for any visible abnormalities, explore the breasts and the underarm area for lumps, using the tips of your
index, middle and annular (ring) fingers.
Take a look at the lemons below to learn the anatomy of a breast and what breast cancer feels like – in order to sharpen
your self-examination skills!
The lemon on the left shows the anatomy of the breast, which is mostly fatty tissue surrounding the milk ducts and lobes on the tips close to the ribs and the reservoir on the other end, as well as the lymph nodes. Milk lobes feel like soft peas, while lymph nodes feel something similar to soft beans when exploring the breast with your fingertips.
Now comes the ultimate question: Do you know what breast cancer feels like?
For the answer, let us examine the lemon image on the above right.
Different from milk lobes and lymph nodes, a cancerous lump is often hard like a lemon seed and does not move around.
It is essential to know what your “normal” breast condition is by carrying out a breast self-examination every month. You are ready to apply what you have learned from our lemon analogies to your once-a-month self-examination, looking out for typical signs of breast cancer!
You know your body better than anyone else. Know what’s normal for you, so you can detect the slightest abnormality immediately.
Monthly breast self-examination (BSE) includes both looking and feeling over the entire breast and chest area. The steps can be performed in any order, but each step is important. Women should use the pads, not the tips, of the three middle fingers when performing BSE. The time required to perform the exam varies with the size and features of a woman’s breasts, but usually only takes about 15 to 20 minutes each month. Women should be sure to examine the breasts in the same manner each month, check the entire breast and armpit area, and remember how the breasts feel from month to month. Some women prefer to keep a small diary of their monthly breast self-examinations.
Menstruating women: Women who are menstruating should perform a breast self-examination from a few days to about a week after menstruation (period) has ended, when breasts are usually less tender or swollen. Women who are no longer menstruating should do their BSE on the same day every month. Try to pick a day that is easy to remember, such as the first or fifteenth of every month, and make that the day each month for a breast self-examination.
1. Raise arms in front of a mirror and examine for irritation, swelling or discharge.
2. While taking a shower or bath, gently explore with fingertips the breast and underarm areas for lumps.
3. Examine thoroughly, and remember how it feels. Follow patterns shown above when examining the breast.
- Spiral or ring pattern (fig.1), making concentric rings that tighten in a spiral, starting on the outer edges of the breast and ending around the nipple
- Vertical or “up and down” pattern (or “squares”) (fig.2) covering the entire breast
- Wedge patterns (fig.3) in and out (or “quadrants”)
4. Lie with one arm tucked behind the head and, with the other hand, examine the opposite breast.
If you find any changes or abnormalities, contact your doctor immediately. Some abnormalities cannot be detected by touch alone; therefore, it is recommended that women receive a mammogram once a year.
REQUEST A SEMINAR
The Lemon Project is Run for the Cure® Foundation’s education initiative to bring greater awareness about breast cancer. Many have heard of breast cancer; however, not many know what symptoms to look for or how to conduct self-examinations. As there are few opportunities to learn about breast cancer in the Japanese school system, The Lemon Project provides an opportunity for both men and women to learn about breast cancer in Japan. This educational session provides information about the signs of breast cancer and how to conduct self-examinations, using lemons!
We are happy to go wherever the seminars are needed; free of charge. We only require the organizer to provide the room, projector, screen and computer for the seminar. Please feel to contact us for more information about The Lemon Project Seminar from the contact form.