In addition to regular check-ups, regular breast self-exam increases the chances of early detection of breast cancer. And the earlier breast cancer is detected, the earlier proper treatment can be given, and the higher the chances of survival. Here’s how:
- Stand straight in front of a mirror with your shoulders straight and your hands on your hips. Check if your breasts are their usual size, shape, and color; check for any visible distortion or swelling. Look for dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin; redness, soreness, swelling, or a rash; and an inverted nipple. If any of these are present, schedule a visit to your doctor asap.
- Raise your arms and perform the same visual examination, looking for the same changes.
- Squeeze your nipples to see if any fluid comes out, which may be watery, milky, yellowish, or blood.
- Next, lie flat on your back. Tuck your left hand under your head. With the fingers of your right hand and a firm and smooth touch, use a circular motion to feel your breast. Follow a pattern to make sure you cover the entire breast – you can go top to bottom from one side to the other, side to side from the top to the bottom, or go in concentric circles starting from the nipple. Feel for any abnormal lumps and/or tenderness. Repeat the process for the right breast.
- Lastly, sit up or stand again. Raise one arm and perform the same examination described in step 4.
Consult your doctor if you notice any abnormal changes.