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How to Perform a Self Breast Exam
Golden Girl Finance

October is almost upon us, which means it’s nearly breast cancer awareness month. While we applaud... more

How to Perform a Self Breast Exam
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October is almost upon us, which means it’s nearly breast cancer awareness month. While we applaud the cause, we believe it’s important for women to be aware of the symptoms and preventative measures of breast cancer every month. And one of the best places to start is with a self-examination.

Although the risk of this type of cancer increases with age, it’s a good idea for women of all ages to conduct a self-exam on a regular basis. The self-exam allows you to become familiar with how your breasts feel normally, making it much easier for her to note any changes.

What to feel for:
Slight changes in size or tenderness may occur naturally due to hormonal fluctuations associated with the menstrual cycle. During the self-exam, you are looking for changes in thickness or hardness of tissues. These changes are usually described as a ‘lump’.

When and how:
The self-exam should be performed once a month. In the shower, you can use the pads of your finger to move around your breast in a circular fashion from the outermost portion of tissue to the area around the nipple. You should also examine the area under your armpit where the major lymph node is located.

What to look for in the mirror:
After your shower, you should stand in front of the mirror and look at the shape, size and lower contour of your breasts with your arms at your sides. Raising your arms above your head causes your breasts to rise up slightly and gives you a different viewpoint of how they normally look. Changes you want to look for include swelling, skin dimpling or changes in contour…anything that looks different.

Hands on the hips:
If you place your hands on your hips, you can flex your chest (pectoral) muscles to give yourself another viewpoint. You can face the mirror and then turn to each side to see if you notice anything different. You will usually notice some difference between your right and left breasts, but if the difference is new, talk to your doctor.

Lying down position:
Lying down is sometimes the easiest way to notice any new lumps because the breast tissue spreads out evenly and you can press down against the chest wall. It is generally recommended that you vary the pressure, move your fingertips in a circular fashion as you did in the shower, and squeeze the nipple to check for any discharge after completing the full circle.

If you do find a lump
If you do find a lump, you should see your doctor, but don’t worry too much. Most lumps are not cancerous. The purpose of breast cancer awareness is to find those that are cancerous and find them sooner, rather than later.

GoldenGirlFinance.com is a thoroughly modern, free online financial resource for women in Canada today. Born out of the notion that too many smart women let their financial situation be ignored, swept under the rug or dictated by others, GoldenGirlFinance.com is rebranding finance with a feminine spin to engage women of all ages to take a greater interest—and play a greater role—in those financial issues that affect their everyday lives and financial futures.
Comments | Tagged under health, cancer, wellness, breasts
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How Your Phone Use is Harming Your Kids
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Technology is here to stay.

Many of us rely on it for everything from our daily schedule to checking in with relatives overseas to finding a recipe we need for tonight’s dinner (or finding a menu to order-in.)

So how do we balance the use of our devices with our parenting? That requires taking time to consider what is really important, and then how we will put those ideas into practice.

It is not surprising that many parents would put their child’s health and development high on their list of priorities—but what they may not realize is the way technology interferes with this. Infants and young children need eye-to-eye contact. According to Catherine Steiner-Adair, in her book The Big Disconnect,

‘The mirroring exchange that occurs when we return our baby’s gaze or giggle allows us to communicate wordlessly… if that connection is stable, steady and supportive, baby and parent form a ‘secure attachment.’ When those qualities are weak or missing, the attachment may be compromised. ..Studies show that [babies] are especially distressed by a mother’s ‘flat’ or emotionless expression…adopted when we stare down to text or into a screen as we go online.’

As children reach age six or seven, parents’ distraction with technology is leading kids to misbehave for attention. A parent recently asked us, ‘Can you believe that my child is throwing things at me to get me off the phone?’  Yes. We can believe it. It may be that the child has learned that throwing things is the easiest way to get Mom or Dad off the device.

So…what can we do about this? It is simple really. Decide when you will be on your devices and when you will put them down—out of reach. Then, do it!

Is the person on the other end of the device that much more important than your child? Children do not need to be the one-and-only thing in our lives—we just need to be clear that when we are with our kids (spending time cooking, playing, walking or hanging out,) that we are with them. When we are working or communicating with others, we aren’t pretending to be present with our kids. The bottom line is: no matter how good a parent thinks they can fake their presence and attention, kids just don’t buy it.

Image of child with phone from Shutterstock.

Julie Freedman Smith and Gail Bell provide tools for real life parenting through their company, Parenting Power™. Using over 40 years of combined experience, they work with parents across the country through telephone coaching and teleconferences to ease the stress and guilt of parents while providing practical solutions to everyday parenting challenges. Visit www.parentingpower.ca to ask your own parenting questions, and learn how to receive 20% off all services as a Parenting Power Member!
Comments | Tagged under parenting, phone, technology
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