Survival rates for breast cancer patients have never been better, and early detection is one of the reasons for this. For that reason, we definitely recommend getting into the habit of looking at and feeling your breasts at least once a month. A particularly good time to do this is during the week after your period. Here is our go to 2 step guide on how to perform a thorough breast exam at home.
1. Standing in front of the mirror:
Look for any changes in size, shape, or position, or any changes to the skin of the breasts such as skin puckering, dimpling, sores or discoloration. Pay specific attention to your nipples, looking for sores or a change in the direction of the nipples. Tighten your chest muscles beneath your breasts and turn from side to side so you can inspect the sides of your breasts. Then bend forward, allowing your breasts to fall forward whilst looking for changes in shape. Finally lift your breasts with your hand to inspect the area underneath.
2. In the shower or bathtub:
Using a soapy hand, glide the flat part of your fingers over your breast in a circular movement – as if you were washing your breast. Start around the armpit and move towards the top of the breast checking for lumps or thickening. Now move your hand towards the middle of the breast, finishing underneath. Apply enough pressure as is comfortable. Gently squeeze your nipples looking for discharge, Repeat on the other breast.
And there you have it! You will know better than anyone how your breasts normally feel and look, so if you do notice a change please see your doctor as soon as possible. Most breast changes will be non-cancerous and benign, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution and have any changes checked.