The National Breast Cancer Foundation suggest that adult women of all ages perform breast self-exams at least once a month.
On their website, they cite Johns Hopkins Medical center stating,
“Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.”
One great reason for doing consistent breast exams is that women get to know their body and get familiar with the look and feel of their breasts, making it more likely they can detect a change or variation should one arise.
They offer three methods for performing a breast self exam. We have included them below, but you can see additional information on their page at the National Breast Cancer Foundation
How Should A Breast Self-Exam Be Performed?
1) In the Shower
Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.
2) In Front of a Mirror
Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead.
Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
3) Lying Down
When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit.
Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
At Team Better, we know this can be uncomfortable, or just be that nagging habit that you don’t get to, but we really want to encourage women to make this part of their monthly wellness plan. It won’t take too long, and it is “well” worth it.