[toc]It is recommended that women of all ages perform a breast exam at least once every month. Nearly 40% of females detected with breast cancers are women, who feel a lump. So, an examination of the breast is considered very important. Mammograms are the tests involved in detecting cancers.
However, self-examination help you understand how your breasts look like and feel, so that you can always be alert when there are any changes and seek medical help.There are five steps you can use to self examine your breast. The steps are mentioned below.
Ways To Perform A Breast Self Exam
Inspect In The Shower
Most women find it convenient and easier to do the breast examination while they are in a shower. Use your fingers and gently move around your breast in a circular movement starting from the outer end towards the center. Ensure that you check the breast completely and your armpit region. Check both sides of your breast at least one time every month and see if you feel a lump or any hard knot or thickening. In case you feel any of these, make sure you immediately consult your doctor and get an evaluation done.
Inspect In Front Of A Mirror
It is always a good choice to inspect visually. This can be done by standing in front of the mirror with your hands placed at the sides. Slowly lift your hands and see if there are changes in the contour or there is any dimpling or swelling. Also, inspect the nipples for any visible changes.
Hands On Hip
In the next step, place your palms on your hips and strongly press it in such a way that the chest muscles are flexed. In some women, the left and right breasts are not symmetrical, but that does not matter. Now look for changes on each side like puckering, dimpling or swelling.
Under Arm Examination
Breast cancer can also occur when there are lumps detected in the armpits. Therefore, it is important to examine the under arms as well. Sit down or stand up and raise your arms slightly, do not raise your arms straight, as it tends to tighten the tissues in this region and makes it difficult to self examine. Once you raise your arms, see if you notice any changes.
Firstly, you need to check the size, color and shape of the breasts. Next, check if the shape of the breasts is even and see if there is any swelling or distortion. If you notice, any consult your doctor immediately. Check the nipple to see if it is inverted or has any changes in the position. Also, check for puckering, bulge or dimpling. Any kind of rash or redness should also be checked.
Lying Down Position
In this step, the self-examination is done by lying down, which enables the tissue of the breast to spread out along the wall of the chest. Take a pillow, place it below the right shoulder, take your right arm, and place it below your head. With the help of your left hand gently move your fingers around the right breast in slow circular pattern completely covering the breast and armpit area. Keep the pressure light in the beginning, then apply medium pressure, and finally apply pressure firmly. Squeeze the nipple to check if there is any lump or discharge. Follow the same steps to check the left breast too.