40%of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so The National Breast Cancer Foundation advises women to give themselves breast exams at least once a month.
Self-examining your breasts allows women to become familiar with the look and feel of their breasts so they can detect abnormal changes sooner. If you do notice anything abnormal, call your doctor.
Take a look at how to give yourself a breast exam at home with the steps below or check out the infographic from clevelandclinic.org!
5 Step Breast Exam at Home
- BreastCancer.org says to start by looking at your breasts in the mirror standing. Have your shoulders straight and your hands at your hips. Check to make sure they are the normal size, color and have no immediate differences.
- Raise your arms straight up and look for the same changes.
- Pinch your nipples and check for any abnormal release of fluid.
- Next, lay down and use your left hand to check your right breast and your right hand to check your left. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few fingers of your hand using the pads of your fingers. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter. Cover the entire breast including near your armpit. You can also use up and down motions. Vary from light, medium and firm pressure.
- Do the same thing again while standing. Many women like to do it in the shower as it’s easier when the breasts are a little wet and slippery.
What You Should Look For
- Keep your eyes open for breasts that are distorted or differently shaped from the last time you did an exam.
- Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin.
- A nipple that has changed position or is inverted.
- Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling.
- Watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood coming from the nipples.
- Lump, thickening, or hardened knot.