Saturday, November 1, 2008

Monthly Breast Exams

This is your reminder to perform your monthly breast self-exam. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women today. Please take five minutes to do this important check. Early detection could mean the difference bewteen life and death.

There are two important ways to check your breasts. The first is by looking. A mirror should be used to check the breasts for pulls, dents, odd colouring, or lumps. The best positions for inspecting are leaning forward, arms on hips tightly, or standing upright with both arms over your head. When checking the breasts, keep in mind that both breasts should look the same, especially around the nipple.

The second way to check the breasts is by feeling. There are two ways to do this part of the exam and it is best to use a different one each month. One method uses water or oil on the skin to help fingers glide over the skin more easily. The shower can be a good place for this kind of exam. The second way is to use a thin T-shirt or sheet over the breasts. In both of these ways, the little skin lumps and bumps are less noticeable. Feel the breast tissue for any areas that feel different from the rest of the breast. Sometimes a difference will be a ball or lump. Yet other times it will be a thickened band or a deep, hard area that does not move like the rest of the breast.

When feeling the breasts

  • Check the breast in two or three positions, such as lying down, standing up, and even leaning forward.
  • Use the palm surface of the fingers, not the tips, to move the breast.
  • Divide the exam into parts. Examine one part from the outside of the breast into the nipple, and then from the inside to the outer edge. Realize the breast tail goes into the armpit, so the exam needs to include that area.
  • Remember the nipple is important, too. There is less breast tissue right under the nipple, so any lump there is a concern. The value of checking for discharge from the nipple is a debate since regular, hard squeezing of the nipple alone can cause a discharge. The gentle exam done towards your nipple is usually enough to show if there is a discharge. Any blood from the nipple needs to be evaluated by a doctor.

Breast self-exam is not a substitute for mammography or for regular exams by a doctor. Be sure to keep regular appointments as recommended by your doctor.

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Pretty Green Clean

I admit it, I am a cleaning product junkie. Not a cleaning junkie, mind you, a cleaning product junkie. I am a sucker for slick marketing and pretty packaging. It's almost as if I am thinking "if it looks nice, I will be inspired to use it more often". Unfortunately, this is not always the case, but there are two brands of products that *have* inspired me. Both are eco friendly products with style oozing out of their fab packaging.

Murchison Hume

Murchison Hume is a relatively new Australian brand that is marketing itself as a Premium Organic Housecleaning Product. The range come in these fab trigger bottles inspired by old fashioned brown glass apothecary bottles as well as cheaper refill bottles. What I love about this brand is that along with the good looks comes a truly effective product. Their best value pack is to buy the set of 6 products. I have used everything except the floor cleaner, and they all work fantastically. You don't need very much of any of them and as well as the cleaning, they impart a lovely light scent to the house. My favourite scent is White Grapefruit, and it also comes in a unscented option for those who are extra sensitive. Check out the full range at


This is another green option that doesn't sacrifice style for substance. Simple but elegant packaging together with some amazing scent combinations make for some really tempting products. My favourite scent is Lavender Pine - it makes your house smell really "clean". Their wood furniture polishing cream is amazing, as is their range of cleaning tools. Make sure you sign up for their newsletter, as they often have special offers.

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