By: Kourtney Farrow | Manager of Mammography at NGMC Gainesville
A breast self-exam is an inspection of your breast that you can do independently, without the help of a physician. Using your eyes and hands, you can determine if there are any changes to the look and feel of your breast.
Performing a breast self-exam will help you notice any important changes. It can be an essential screening tool, primarily when combined with regular physical exams and yearly mammograms.
A self exam should be done once a month. Becoming familiar with your breast makes it easier to notice any changes from one month to another.
Here are the 5 easy steps to a Breast Self-Exam:
- Stand in front of a mirror with your shoulders straight and your hands on your hips. You will be looking for unusual discoloration, drainage from the nipples, puckering, dimpling or scaly skin.
- Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
- While standing, use three fingers of your right hand to feel your left breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with your hand’s first few finger pads, keeping fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion and cover the entire breast from top to bottom and side to side. Many women find it easier to feel their breasts when their skin is wet, like in the shower.
- Repeat step 3 on the other breast.
- Repeat step 3 while lying down.
If you find anything unusual or a lump, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.
Again, doing your breast self-exam monthly in combination with your annual physical exam and mammograms can help save your life.