Dear Doctor, How do I examine my breasts?

It’s not as difficult as you might think. To examine your breasts, you are going to want to look and feel….I repeat….look and feel!

Next time you’re in the shower, stand in front of the bathroom mirror and just look. It’s kind of awkward but you need to know your own body. It’s also a bit more than stand and admire yourself, but hey why not for a minute!

I want you to do some movements and watch both breasts carefully. Throughout those movements you are looking for a few things:
1. Symmetry (some people have slightly different breasts thats normal), we are looking for changes to your norm or obvious differences.

2. Skin changes- redness, swelling, look for signs of dimpling or puckering to the skin.

3. Nipples- any bleeding or discharge from the nipple, changes to the size or colour, if the nipple changes position or starts to invert.

OK so here goes…the movements…

1. Hands by your side

2. Hands above your head (like the airport body scanner)
3. Hands on your hips
4. Hands on your hips but elbows pushed forward (I call it the model pose).

OK looking done… now for the feeling…

It’s best done lying down with your arm above your head. Use your left hand to examine the right breast, then vice versa for the other side.

To examine your right breast, put your right arm above your head, bend you elbow and place your hand behind your head (think Rose in that Titanic paint me scene).

Place your finger tips flat on the skin and use small circular motions, softly then a bit deeper, feeling for any lumps.

Think of the breast like a clock. Start at 12 o’clock and go all the way down to the nipple at the centre of our ‘clock’, then 1 o’clock and into the centre, then 2 o’clock and in, keep going all the way round until you have felt all the way round the breast, outer to central.

In terms of area- cover your collar bone to your lower ribs, and your armpit to the middle of your chest (breast bone/sternum).

Now sit up straight and repeat your breast exam but feel in your armpit also for any lumps there.

You should aim to do this at least once a month but can do it as often as you like.

 


Click here to read my article on what to do if you find a lump and what the lump could be.

Click here to read about my friend’s experience when she found a lump.

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