Women of all ages are encouraged to perform monthly self-exams to feel for any changes or lumps in the breasts. Self-exams allow you to be very familiar with your breasts, making it easier to detect when there is a change. While mammograms can detect breast cancer before you feel a lump, alert your health care professional if you notice anything out of the ordinary when doing your self-exams.
How do I do a Breast Self-Exam
In the Shower: Raise your arm behind your head. This makes it easier for you to feel for changes in shape, and size. Using your fingers, apply medium pressure in a circular motion without lifting your fingers. Follow an up and down pattern, making sure to go over the nipple as well. Check for lumps, thickening, or any changes in your breast tissue.
In front of the Mirror: Look at your breasts with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Look for any dimpling, swelling, soreness, or redness of the skin. Gently squeeze the nipple to check for any discharge or fluid coming from one or both breasts.
Lying Down: When lying down, the breast tissue spreads evenly. Using your left hand, apply medium pressure in a circular motion. Follow the up and down pattern throughout the entire breast, making sure to go over the nipple, and throughout the armpit.