Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Breast Self-Exam

Patient Information

Appointment Scheduling

Monday - Friday,
7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
7:10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Breast Self-Exam

It only takes a few minutes each month to give yourself a breast self-examination, and it is an important factor in the diagnosis of breast cancer. Check your breasts a few days after your period, when your breasts are less tender. If you are no longer menstruating, simply select a regular date for your monthly self-exam.

Standing in Front of the Mirror:

  1. Start with your hands down at your sides.
  2. Look at both of your breast to note any changes in size, shape, contour or dimpling.
  3. Also check the color and texture of your skin and nipple.
  4. Repeat these steps with your arms slightly raised in the air.
  5. Then, repeat the steps while pushing down on your hips to tighten your chest muscles.
  6. Finally examine your breast while bending at your waist, with your hands on your hips. This will allow you to check for any dimpling of the skin.

Lying Down:

  1. Lie down on your back and raise your right arm behind your head.
  2. Carefully inspect your right breast with the pads of the three middle fingers on your left hand, using a dime-sized, overlapping circular motion in an up-and-down pattern.
  3. Apply different amounts of pressure (light, medium, and firm) to each area of the breast.
  4. Make sure to check all areas where breast tissue may be found — from the underarm to the breastbone and from the collarbone to the bra line.
  5. Make sure you do not lift your fingers away from the skin at any time during your self-exam.
  6. When you have finished, lower your right arm and re-examine your right underarm.
  7. Repeat these steps on the left breast using your right hand.

(Source: American Cancer Society)