Women of all ages are encouraged to perform a self-exam of their breasts each month. While a mammogram is the best diagnostic tool for breast cancer, examining your breasts every month is the best way to become familiar with them so that any changes can be reported to your gynecologist. There are three ways to perform a self-exam, and using all three once a month can help you notice any changes that have occurred.
In the Shower
Wet your hands with water and soap to make the exam easier. Next, move the pads of your fingers in a circular motion over the entire breast. The entire breast and the armpit should be checked for any lumps, hard knots or areas that have thickened.
In Front of the Mirror
With your hands by your sides, look at your breasts in the mirror. Raise both hands high above your head and look for any dimpling, swelling or changes in the contour of your breasts. Next, place your hands firmly on your hips and press your chest out, flexing it. Very few women’s breasts look exactly the same as one another, so don’t be alarmed if there are minor differences between the two. Any puckering, dimpling or changes on one side, however, should be noted.
When you lie down, your breast tissue spreads out along your chest wall, making it easier to examine each breast. Place a small pillow or rolled up towel under one shoulder. Then, put the same arm above your head. Using the opposite hand, examine the entire breast and armpit area with small circular motions using the pads of your fingers. Apply light, medium and firm levels of pressure to help you perform a more thorough exam. Lightly squeeze the nipple, looking for any discharge or lumps. Repeat the entire process on the opposite breast.
Contact the Caring Professionals at OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch
Most lumps and changes in the breast aren’t cancerous; however, it’s important to get a thorough medical exam to rule out any problems and put your mind at ease. If you notice any changes, lumps or areas of thickening in either breast, contact the professional and caring staff at OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch today.