Breast self-examination is a screening technique that helps you examine your breasts for any physical changes. Women of all ages are always encouraged to do this at least once in a month as it can be an important way to find out breast cancer early.
Besides helping to detect breast cancer early and other abnormalities in the breasts, breast self-exam will also help you get more familiar with the size, shape and texture of your breasts. This is very important because it can help you determine what’s normal and what’s not.
Breast self-exam is actually very easy and something you can do conveniently at home. Ensure it’s done a few days after your period because hormonal changes during your period can affect the feel and size of your breasts.
Here’s how to perform a breast self-exam:
- Look at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips
- Look for unusual change in size, shape and color
- Check if both breasts are evenly shaped without distortion or swelling
- Raise your arms and look for the same changes
- Check if there are any fluids coming out of your nipples
- Lie down. Use your right hand to feel your left breast and use your left hand to feel your right breast. Do this using the first few finger pads of your hands, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion and ensure you cover your entire breast from top to bottom
If you do notice any unusual changes, you should see your doctor right away. Here are some changes to watch out for:
- An inverted nipple or a nipple that has changed position
- Dimpling of breast skin
- Nipple discharge
- A painless hard lump in the breast. Sometimes the lump can be painful
- Breast or nipple pain
- Redness or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
Here’s a video to further help you on how to examine your breasts:
Video sourced from YouTube