Breast Self Examination
It is suggested that you perform a regular breast self examination at home at least once a month. The earlier lumps or irregularities are detected, the higher the chances of cure are.
How to perform a breast self examination?
It is very easy to perform a breast self examination at home. Follow the steps and picture guides below to help you understand carefully how to perform your breast self examination.
Begin by standing in front of a mirror, and examining your breasts. Here’s what you should look for:
- Breasts’ usual size, shape, and color.
- Breasts are equal in shape and size, without visible distortion or swelling.
Any of the following changes that you notice should be mentioned to your doctor:
- Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin.
- A nipple that has changed position, or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out).
- Redness, soreness, rash or swelling.
Now raise your arms and look for the same changes, notice the sides of your breasts whilst your hands are up.
Also, notice any lumps, or irregularities under your armpits, which you should mention to your doctor if visible.
Repeat the above mentioned steps with your hands placed on your hips. You may hunch over to get a better view of the front and sides of your breasts.
You are advised to use the different positions as some lumps or irregularities are not visible or noticed unless standing in a certain position.
Feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the hand movements explained at the bottom of this page.
Finally, examine your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use the hand movements explained at the bottom of the page.
Make sure you cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
There are three types of hand movements which you can use one of them to examine your breasts. It is suggested that you apply one movement when following the above steps, as some irregularities are detected through these certain movements only. Do not forget to cover the whole breast and armpit areas from both sides.