As Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close, we wanted to write about monthly breast exams because it’s not just this month, it’s every month that all adult women are recommended to complete a self-exam. This is important for a few reasons. First, by knowing how your normal breasts feel, you will be able to notice if there are any changes and notify your healthcare practitioner if you feel something is not right. Second, early detection is key to fighting breast cancer before it spreads.
How to Give Yourself a Monthly Breast Exam:
In the shower:
Use your fingertips and in a circular motion, feel the entire breast from the outside in towards the middle of the chest. Check for any lumps, thickening, or a hardened area.
In the mirror:
Visually check your breasts and raise your arms over your head to notice any dimpling or skin differences first between your breasts and then any differences from your previous exams. It’s normal for each breast to be different in size but notice any changes or dimples.
Lay flat and place a pillow behind your right shoulder and put your right arm over your head. Using your left fingertips, make small circular motions around the entire breast and vary between light, medium, and heavy pressure feeling for any changes or lumps. Follow these same instructions for your left breast.
Why It’s Important
Mammograms can detect tumors before they are felt and getting screened is important for early detection. However, knowing how your normal breasts look and feel is also important so you can let your healthcare professional know right away if something is off.
Set your monthly calendar reminder and make sure to give yourself that monthly breast exam!