Breast Cancer Awareness: How should a breast self-exam be performed?

by Temilola Waliu Globalwalyy
Breast Self-Exam

Breast cancer usually starts off in the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply them with milk. A malignant tumor can spread to other regions of the body. A cancer of the breast that began off in the lobules is known as lobular carcinoma, while the one that developed from the ducts is called ductal carcinoma.

The vast majority of breasts cancer cases occur in females. This article concentrates on breast cancer self-exam in women.

What Is a Breast Self-Exam?

It’s way for you to check your breasts for changes, such as lumps or thickenings. You’ll look at and feel both breasts. If you notice anything unusual, tell your doctor. In many cases, those changes aren’t cancer, but you need to see your doctor to find out.

Adult women are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month. Johns Hopkins Medical center states,

“Forty percent of diagnosed breast malignancies are detected by ladies who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breasts self-exam is very important. ”

Breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your bosom look and feel so that you can alert your doctor if there are any changes.

How should a breast self-exam be performed?

Step 1: Begin by looking at your breast in the mirror with your shoulders straight plus your arms on your hips.

Breast Self-Exam in-front of the mirrior

Breast Self-Exam in-front of the mirrior

Here’s what you should look for:

  • Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
  • Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling

If you see one of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:

  • Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
  • A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed again to the inside rather than sticking out)
  • Redness, ache, rash, or puffiness

Stage 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

Breast Self-Exam

Breast Self-Exam

Stage 3: While you’re at the mirror, look for almost any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this might be a watery, milky, or yellow-colored fluid or blood).

Stage 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your 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, about the size of a quarter.


Cover the complete breasts from top to lower part, side to side — from your collarbone to the very best of your abdominal, and from your underarm to your cleavage.

Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.

Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting down. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your whole breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.

Can I rely on breast self-exams alone to be sure I am breast cancer free?

Screening is key for early recognition. But when combined with regular medical care and appropriate guideline-recommended mammography, breasts self-exams can help women really know what is normal for them so they can report any changes to their healthcare provider.

If you discover a lump, schedule a consultation with your doctor, but don’t be panic– 8 of 10 lumps are certainly not cancerous. For additional serenity of mind, call your doctor whenever you have concerns.

What Should I actually Do if I discover a Lump?

Don’t Panic. It could be many things apart from cancer. Although do check together with your doctor’s office if you see any new breasts changes, such as:

  • An area that is different from any other area on either breast
  • A lump or thickening in or nearby the breast or in the underarm that lasts through your monthly cycle
  • A big change in the size, shape, or contours of the breasts
  • A marble-like area under the skin
  • A change in the feeling or appearance of skin on the breast or nipple (dimpled, puckered, scaly, or inflamed)
  • Bloody or clear substance discharge from the erect nipples
  • Redness of the pores and skin on the breast or nipple

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