Step 1: Start by looking at your breasts in the mirror
Stand in front of a mirror with your arms at your sides. Look at your breasts in the mirror, and take note of their size, shape, and color. Check for any changes in the contour, such as dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin. Also, check for any changes in the nipples, such as a rash or discharge.
Step 2: Raise your arms and examine your breasts
Next, raise your arms above your head and examine your breasts again. Look for any changes in the contour of your breasts or nipples.
Step 3: Lie down and feel your breasts
Lie down on your back and place a pillow under your right shoulder. Using your left hand, feel your right breast, using small circular motions. Start from the outer edges and move toward the nipple. Make sure to cover the entire breast, from the collarbone to the top of the abdomen and from the armpit to the cleavage. Repeat this process with your left breast.
Step 4: Feel for lumps
When examining your breasts, feel for any lumps or thickening. Lumps may feel like a hard knot or a pea-sized mass. If you find a lump or a thickening, don’t panic. Many lumps are harmless, but it’s essential to have any changes checked by a doctor.
Step 5: Check your nipples
Check your nipples for any discharge or changes in shape. Gently squeeze each nipple to check for any discharge.
Step 6: Repeat regularly
It’s essential to perform breast self-examinations regularly, preferably once a month. This can help you become familiar with your breasts and detect any changes early on.
Here are some additional tips for performing a breast self-examination:
- Use the pads of your fingers, not the tips, to feel your breasts.
- Use varying levels of pressure, from light to firm.
- Stand in front of a mirror while examining your breasts lying down to help detect any changes.
- Don’t forget to check your armpits for lumps, as breast tissue extends into this area.
If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a lump or thickening, or any other unusual symptoms, see your doctor right away. Remember, early detection is key to successful treatment of breast cancer.