Stay on Top of Your Health With a Breast Self-Examination
An important part in being aware of your breast health is making sure that you are performing regular breast self-examinations. While you’re in the shower or before bed, a few simple steps can be taken to check for breast abnormalities and to become familiar with your breasts so you can recognize breast problems should they occur. Your self-exam should occur a few days after your menstrual cycle ends to assure the breasts are not tender or swollen.
How to do a Self-Breast Exam
- Stand in front of a mirror where you can clearly see your breasts. Look for any changes, but particularly skin puckering, dimpling, or nipple discharge.
- Check the shape and contour of your breasts in two different positions. First, clasp your hands behind your head and press your hands forward. You should feel your chest muscles tighten. Second, press your hands on your hips firmly and bend slightly as you pull your shoulders and elbows forward.
- Gently squeeze each nipple and look for discharge.
- Lie down with one arm over your head and use the pads of your fingers to check the breast of the raised arm and surrounding area firmly and thoroughly. Lying down helps to spread the breast tissue evenly over your chest. You should check for unusual lumps under the skin using a pattern of up-and-down lines. Make sure you check the entire breast area, under arms and just above the collarbone.
UPMC is dedicated to community education about breast cancer prevention, including breast self-examinations, in Williamsport, PA, and the surrounding areas.