Performing a monthly breast self exam may also aid in early detection of breast cancer.
- Lay down and place a pillow under your right shoulder. Next, place your right arm under your head.
- Using your three middle fingers of your left hand, massage your right breast with the pads of your fingers. Check for any lumps or abnormalities. You can move in a circular motion, or up and down. Make sure you use the same motion every month.
- Continue the motion, extending to the outside of the breast to your underarm.
- Repeat on left side.
- Next, repeat exam standing up, with one arm behind your shoulder as you examine each breast. Standing or sitting up allows you to feel the outside of the breast more accurately.
- For added precaution, stand in front of a mirror and squeeze each nipple. Look for any discharge.
- Take note of any dimpling, redness or swelling.
- You can do a portion of the exam while you are in shower. Incorporating it into a normal activity can make it easier to do, and less of a time constraint. Remember to mark your calendar every month as a reminder.
- Do the self breast exam every month at the same time. Menstruating women should perform it a few days after their period. Women taking oral contraceptives should do the exam on the first day of starting a new pack of pills.
- Report any changes to your physician, even if you feel it is minor.
- You can also choose a friend who will be your BSE (breast self exam) Buddy. She can remind you and vice versa to do the exam monthly.
What You Need
- A pillow
- A mirror