BY MEGHA PATEL '20
Performing monthly breast self-exams allows you to familiarize yourself with both the look and the feel of your breasts, helping you to easily recognize any abnormalities when the time comes. According to the nonprofit Breastcancer.org, three-quarters of breast cancer patients have no family history and are therefore not considered high risk, so it is important to check frequently, even if there are no other warning signs. There are several ways to complete a breast self-exam, so feel free to choose which one works best for you.
In the shower
The shower is a very convenient place to check your breasts.
- The National Breast Cancer Foundation suggests that you use the tips of your fingers and move around your entire breast in a circular pattern, moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area.
In the mirror
Position your arms on your hips, head or sides when looking in the mirror.
Note the shape and size of your breasts.
Look for any differences between your breasts.
Look for common abnormalities such as swelling, redness, inverted nipples, taut or thick skin or unusual dimpling or puckering.
Keep track of how your breasts change throughout menstruation. Many people find that their breast size varies during menstruation.
It is highly advised to administer breast self-exams on your bed, because your breast tissue will naturally distribute over your chest and your ribs.
- Place a pillow under your shoulder and your arm behind your head.
- Using your opposite hand, move the tips of your fingers gently around your breasts in a circular motion. Make sure you cover the entire breast area and the armpit.
- Squeeze your nipple, and check for any discharge or lumps.
- Do the same thing for the other breast.