How to Peform a Breast Self-Examination
Breast self-examination is one of the best tools available for discovering breast cancer in the early, most treatable stages. Make a monthly self-exam part of your regular routine.
Difficulty Level: easy Time Required: 15 minutes
Breast self exams can be performed in any one of
three ways: 1. in a circular motion; 2. up and down
or 3. from the outer edges toward the nipple.
- Perform the self-exam on the same day each month. Pre-menopause: a week after menstruation. Post-menopause: any date.
- Stand in front of the mirror with both arms by your side and look closely at both of your breasts.
- Look for changes in size, color or texture. (These may be signs of Inflammatory Breast Cancer).
- Lying on the bed, put a towel or small pillow under your right shoulder and put your right hand behind your head.
- With the middle three fingers of your left hand examine your right breast
- Start at the nipple and go in circles around your breast until the ENTIRE surface is examined. Alternatively, move your fingers up-and-down your breast from top to bottom; OR move your fingers from the outer edges of your breast inward toward the nipple to insure a complete self-exam.
- Pay attention to any changes ( lumps, bumpy texture, tenderness ) from last month's self-exam.
- After you examine your breast, move to your underarm (lymph node area) and look for changes there.
- Gently press the nipple and check for discharge and changes in the nipple itself.
- Follow the same procedure with the left breast.
- In the shower, examine your right breast and underarm area exactly the way you did on the bed (except for the pillow, of course).
- Follow the same procedure on your left side.
- Examine your entire breast and under arm area. If you do notice any changes or lumps, don't panic. Most lumps are benign fibroadenomas or cysts.
- If you examine your breasts every month you become familiar with the way they feel and look. That makes it easier to notice any changes.
- Make sure to tell your doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts. Early treatment is the best way to survive cancer!
Also see -> What's this about mammograms?
Diagnostic Tools | Those Old "They Found a Lump" Blues
Elsewhere on the Web:
How to Do Breast Self-Exams