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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.

Here's How:

  1. Perform the self-exam on the same day each month. Pre-menopause: a week after menstruation. Post-menopause: any date.
  2. Stand in front of the mirror with both arms by your side and look closely at both of your breasts.
  3. Look for changes in size, color or texture. (These may be signs of Inflammatory Breast Cancer).
  4. Lying on the bed, put a towel or small pillow under your right shoulder and put your right hand behind your head.
  5. With the middle three fingers of your left hand examine your right breast
  6. 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.
  7. Pay attention to any changes ( lumps, bumpy texture, tenderness ) from last month's self-exam.
  8. After you examine your breast, move to your underarm (lymph node area) and look for changes there.
  9. Gently press the nipple and check for discharge and changes in the nipple itself.
  10. Follow the same procedure with the left breast.
  11. In the shower, examine your right breast and underarm area exactly the way you did on the bed (except for the pillow, of course).
  12. Follow the same procedure on your left side.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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




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