Self-breast Exam Checks Shouldn’t Be Neglected
July 19, 2016
by Mankato Clinic
Research shows that 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, which is why it’s so important that adult women of all ages remember to perform their breast self-exam at least once a month.
Take a minute to jot down a monthly reminder in your calendar or phone and follow these three easy steps from the National Breast Cancer Organization for how to perform an exam. Please remember to alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.
1: In the shower
Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.
2: In front of a mirror
Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
3: Lying down
When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.