It’s very important to perform a monthly self breast examination a few days after your period ends. You should get to know your body well because you are the one who is going to notice a change or difference in your breasts before anyone else does. It’s important for you to see your doctor for a regular checkup, but when you are checking your breasts for your monthly self-exam, here are some things to look for.
1) In The Shower
Move the pads of your three middle fingers in a circular pattern around your entire breast. Start with the outside edges of your breast and work your way towards the nipple. Check the entire breast area for any lumps or bumps that feel different, anything that wasn’t there before. Especially anything that feels firm. Make sure you check the lymph nodes under your arm because there is breast tissue that goes all the way up into the armpit. Be sure to check your underarm because breast cancer can present as a bump under the arm as well as in the breast itself.
If you notice any changes, make an appointment to get evaluated by your healthcare provider for early identification and treatment.
2) In Front Of A Mirror
Stand in front of a mirror with your arms at your sides. Visually inspect your breasts for any changes in your nipples, the contour of your breasts, dimpling in the skin or swelling. Now raise your arms high overhead and look for the same symptoms.
Bring your hands down and rest them on your hips, begin to flex and tighten the muscles in your chest. Most breasts do not perfectly match but keep your eye out for any puckering, dimpling or changes, particularly on one side.
3) Laying Down
When laying on your back, your breast tissue will spread out evenly along your chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and lift your arm up towards the ceiling then bring your arm down behind your head so your fingers are pointing away from your toes. Using your left hand, use the pads of your three middle fingers to feel around your right breast in small circular motions. Go over your entire breast and armpit area.
Start with light, medium then firm pressure. Squeeze your nipple, check for discharge and lumps. Repeat the exact same steps for your left breast.
If You Think You Feel Or See Breast Cancer Symptoms, See Your Healthcare Provider
Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you think you see or feel something that relates to any of the signs mentioned above, call your family physician and book an appointment. The sooner you are seen the better, don’t wait to make that call.
For more information on breast cancer, check out the National Breast Cancer Foundation.