Breast Self Examination

We all know that if you have breast cancer, the earlier you find out about it and get treatment the better. Because we don’t yet have a breast health policy in South Africa, many women are not being properly screened for breast cancer and are certainly not getting regular mammograms.

Even if you are among the lucky few who are having annual checkups, the best way to catch the cancer early is to do monthly self-examinations of your breasts. Get into the HABIT of doing it a few days after your period ends if you are still menstruating. It could save your life!

So how do you do an self-examination?

These are the 5 easy steps to follow (and – bonus! – you can even get a lover to help you!)

STEP 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.

Here’s what you should look for:

  • Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
  • Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling

If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:

  • Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
  • A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
  • Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling

STEP 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

STEP 3: While you’re at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood.)

STEP 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a R5 coin.

Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. (This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women.)

Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts:

– for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure

– use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts

– use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.

Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in Step 4.

How to Do a Breast Self-Examination  - via bse2


{  Infogram by Healthy Women  }



4 thoughts on “Breast Self Examination

    1. Thank you for reblogging our posts, My Health Share! #knowledgeispower! Are you on Twitter and Facebook? We’d love to connect with you there, too 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s