Self-exam

Self-exam

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A breast self-exam is one of key steps women of all ages can take to become active in prevention and the early detection of breast cancer – and it only takes 10 minutes, once a month. By becoming proficient at breast self-examination and familiar with the usual appearance and feel of your breasts, you may be able to detect changes that could signal early signs of cancer.

  • Learn how your breasts typically look and feel and watch for changes.
  • If you detect a change, promptly bring it to your doctor's attention.
  • Ask your doctor to review your examination technique if you'd like input or you have questions.

Simply stated, self-examinations have been shown to save lives.

Follow These Simple Steps


A breast self-exam is one of key steps women of all ages can take to become active in prevention and the early detection of breast cancer – and it only takes 10 minutes, once a month. By becoming proficient at breast self-examination and familiar with the usual appearance and feel of your breasts, you may be able to detect changes that could signal early signs of cancer.

1

Before you shower

Use the finger pads of the three middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. It's normal for breasts to feel lumpy — over time you'll identify your own natural “lumps,” and know if something feels different.

Press firmly enough to know how your breast feels. A firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast is normal. If you're not sure how hard to press, talk with your doctor or nurse.


Circular
Up & Down Lines
Wedges

Move around the breast in a circular, up and down line, or wedge pattern. Be sure to do it the same way every time, check the entire breast area and remember how your breasts feel from month to month.

Move the pillow to under your left shoulder and repeat the exam on your left breast, using the finger pads of the right hand.


2

In the shower or bath

Repeat step 1 using soapy hands. Simply place one arm behind your head as you examine each breast.


3

After you shower

In front of the mirror, look for changes in the size and shape of each of your breasts — as well as the position of each nipple. Remember, it is normal for one breast to be larger than another.

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