Early detection of breast cancer still remains the best way to beat the ravaging disease that affects one out of eight women. And when it comes to early detection, you hold the most important key. YOU can detect changes in your breasts before your doctor does as you’re familiar with what’s normal for you. So, if you don’t know how to do a breast self-exam, then this article could help you.
The breast self-exam
1. Stand in front of a mirror large enough for you to see your breasts clearly. Check your breasts for anything unusual such as skin puckering, dimpling or scaling. Look for a discharge from the nipple.
The next two steps help you check for change i the shape or contour of your breasts. As you do them, you should feel your chest muscles tighten.
2. Claps your hands behind your head and press your hands forward.
3. Next, press your hands firmly on your hips and bend slowly towards the mirror as you pull your shoulders and elbows forward.
4. Gently squeeze each nipple to check for discharge
5. Raise one arm. Use the pads of your fingers to check the breast and surrounding area firmly, carefully and thoroughly. Feel for any unusual lumps or mass under the skin. To make sure you’ve covered the breast, take your time and follow definite patterns: circles, lines or wedges. You can also use lotion or powder to help your fingers glide easily over the skin. Pay particular attention to the area between the breast and underarm, including the underarm itself.
6. It’s important to repeat step 5 while you’re lying down. Lie flat on your back, with one arm over your head and a pillow or folded towel under the opposite shoulder. This position flattens the breast and makes it easier to exam.
7. Some women repeat step 5 in the shower. Your fingers glide easily over soapy skin so you can focus on feeling the changes underneath.