It’s important to note that self-exams should never replace regular mammograms or other breast cancer screenings recommended by your healthcare provider. However, performing regular breast self-exams can help you become familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts so you can quickly notice any changes that may be a sign of breast cancer. Here’s how to check for breast cancer at home:
- Begin by standing in front of a mirror with your arms relaxed at your sides. Look for any changes in the size or shape of your breasts, as well as any changes in the skin or nipple, such as dimpling, puckering, or inversion.
- Next, raise your arms above your head and check again for any changes in the size, shape, or appearance of your breasts.
- Use the pads of your fingers to feel your breast tissue. Begin at the collarbone and move your fingers down the breast in a circular motion, feeling for any lumps, thickening, or areas of tenderness.
- Move your fingers down to the area under your breast and check for any lumps or changes in the texture of the breast tissue.
- Finally, check your armpit area for any lumps or swelling that may be a sign of breast cancer.
It’s important to perform a breast self-exam at the same time each month, as breast tissue can change throughout your menstrual cycle. If you notice any changes or abnormalities during a self-exam, contact your healthcare provider right away to schedule a clinical breast exam and mammogram.
Remember, a breast self-exam is just one tool in the fight against breast cancer. Regular mammograms, clinical breast exams, and other screenings recommended by your healthcare provider are also important for early detection and treatment of breast cancer.