How to Perform A Self Breast Examination

With the number of breast cancer patients constantly on the rise, it’s important for every woman to perform a breast self examination regularly, to detect any abnormal changes in their breasts at the earliest. If you do detect any changes, don’t panic because every change doesn’t point towards breast cancer. Here are simple step by step instructions on conducting a breast examination at home.

1.    Before doing a detailed self breast examination, as we have detailed in the steps given below, stand in front of the mirror to do a visual examination. Stand straight in front of the mirror and ensure that there is ample light on both your breasts. Push your hips slightly backwards, so that your chest pushes a little forward and your breasts hang down in their natural shape. In this state, take a thorough look at your breasts to determine and change in shape or size. Also look for any dimples or bumps that may be apparent. Note down anything, you feel is abnormal, to discuss with your doctor.

2.    Lie down on your back, on a flat surface, preferably a hard one. Let your shoulder blades rest completely against the surface, so that your breasts spread evenly over your chest. When the breast tissues are evenly spread on the chest wall, it becomes easier to feel even tiny lumps.

3.    Put your right arm behind the head, with your elbow pointing upwards. Using the your three middle fingers of the left hand, sticking to each other, feel your right breast for any lumps, hardness or pain. As you trace your entire breast tissues, make circular motions with your fingers at each point to get a better and a deeper feel of the tissues.

4.    You’ll need to cover your breasts three times, each time applying different levels of pressure. Begin with light pressure, then medium pressure and finally apply firm pressure to the breast tissues. Around the lower curve of the breast you may feel a somewhat hard ridge kind of a thing, and it’s normal. For all other abnormalities, presence of lumps or if you experience strong pain in any particular area, you must consult your doctor.

5.    Finally spread your right arm to the side, where it’s at 90 degrees to your chest, and feel the underarm area in the same manner. And then repeat the entire procedure for the left breast.

Sidharth Thakur