October 3, 2016

by Mankato Clinic

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so now is the perfect time to refresh your memory when it comes to performing your monthly self-breast exam.

1: Perform at the same time

Perform check at the same time each month. You should look for breasts that are their usual size, shape and color and breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling.

2: Lying down

Examine your breasts lying down with one arm behind your head by making small, circular motions with the pads of your three middle fingers. Use light, medium and firm pressure.

3: Exam the whole breast

Perform the monthly exam from the whole breast, up to your collar bone and into the armpit. Move the pads of your fingers around your breasts gently in small, circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit.

4: Perform a check in front of a mirror

Check your breasts in front of a mirror, looking for changes in shape and in the nipple.

Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your side. Raise your arms overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipple. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps.

5: Check breasts in the shower

In the shower, use the pads of your fingers and move 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 while feeling for any lumps, thickening or hardened knots.

Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.