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:
- Start with your hands down at your sides.
- Look at both of your breast to note any changes in size, shape, contour or dimpling.
- Also check the color and texture of your skin and nipple.
- Repeat these steps with your arms slightly raised in the air.
- Then, repeat the steps while pushing down on your hips to tighten your chest muscles.
- 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.
- Lie down on your back and raise your right arm behind your head.
- 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.
- Apply different amounts of pressure (light, medium, and firm) to each area of the breast.
- 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.
- Make sure you do not lift your fingers away from the skin at any time during your self-exam.
- When you have finished, lower your right arm and re-examine your right underarm.
- Repeat these steps on the left breast using your right hand.
(Source: American Cancer Society)