In this article, we will discuss Breast Self-Examination. So, let’s get started.
1. Stand in front of a mirror (arms at side) and check each breast for anything unusual. Check the skin for puckering, dimpling, scaliness or a discharge from the nipples.
2. Watching closely in the mirror (arms raised), clasp your hands behind your head and press your hands forward.
3. Press your hands firmly on your hips and bend slightly toward the mirror as you pull your shoulders and elbows forward. (hands on hips).
Do steps 2 and 3 to check for any change in the shape or contour of your breasts. As you do these steps, you should feel your chest muscles tighten.
4. Gently squeeze each nipple and look for a discharge (pinch nipple).
5. The breasts are best examined while lying down as this position flattens the breast and makes it easier to check (arm raised while lying down) and (one arm raised). Use the pads of the fingers of your other hand to check the breast and the surrounding area firmly, carefully and thoroughly. To be sure you cover the whole breast, take your time, and follow a definite pattern: lines, circles or wedges. Consider using any one of these patterns:
• Lines: Start in the underarm area and move your fingers downward little by little until they are below the breast. Then move your fingers slightly toward the middle and slowly move backup. Go up and down until you cover the whole area.
• Circles: Beginning at the outer edge of your breast, mose the fingers slowly around the whole breast in a circle. Move around the breast in smaller and smaller circles, gradually working toward the nipple. Do not forget to check the underarm and upper chest areas, too.
• Wedges: Starting at the outer edge of the breast, move your fingers toward the nipple and back to the edge. Check your whole breast, covering 1 small, wedge-shaped section at a time. Be sure to check the underarm area and the upper chest. The American Cancer Society recommends using 3 different levels of pressure to examine your breasts:
– Light pressure- To examine the tissue closest to the skin.
– Medium pressure- To feel a little deeper.
– Firm pressure- To feel deeper tissue closer to the chest wall.
6. Some women repeat step 5 in the shower as the fingers glide easily over soapy skin. Sometimes, the lumpiness may be due to menstrual changes, but if nipple discharge or skin changes that may indicate the woman for a medical examination and most of breast lumps are benign.