How to do a breast self-exam and check for lumps
Every woman’s breasts are different so it’s important to be aware of how your breasts normally look and feel as this will help you notice any changes.
How to check for lumps in 5 steps:
- 1. Start by standing in front of a mirror, with your undergarment off, make sure there is good lighting. Then begin looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and hands on your hips. Check whether your breasts are their usual size, shape and colour. Check to see if you have any bulging of the skin, dimpling, redness, a rash, swelling, or has your nipple changed position.
- 2. Now, raise your arms and look for same changes.
- 3. While still looking at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples.
- 4. Next, feel your breasts while lying down. The use your right hand to feel the left breast and then the left hand to feel the right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion using different pressures.
Make sure you cover the entire breast from your collar bone to the top of your abdomen (top to bottom) and from your armpit to cleavage (side to side).
- 5. Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing up or sitting. Use the same hand movements described in step 4. If you see any changes, bring it to your Doctor’s attention
A little reminder, your breasts can change:
- During your menstrual cycle, a hormone changes the texture of your breast that could make them feel lumpy (your glands swell for a possible pregnancy). If you don’t get pregnant your breasts will go back to its normal size. Your breasts could also feel sore and painful.
- After Menopause your breasts might feel soft, less lumpy and less firm.
So be aware of how your breasts normally feel and look during these periods and after.