Women Take Charge! Perform Breast Self-exams

Breast self-exams are a women’s first line of defense against breast cancer. The most valuable thing about a breast cancer self-exam is that it helps women become familiar with the look and feel of their breasts while they are healthy. Thus, any change to breast tissue will be apparent, helping detect breast cancer and other potentially harmful conditions earlier. Doctor’s visits, mammograms and other women’s health insurance quotes here.

But, what is the correct way to do a self exam?

The American Cancer Society recommends the following technique for conducting a Breast self exam:

  • · Lie down and place one arm behind your head.
  • · Use the pads of your middle three fingers on the opposite hand (left hand for right breast and right hand for left breast) to check your breast tissue in overlapping, dime-sized circular motions.
  • · Use an up-and-down pattern starting from your underarm and moving all the way to the middle of your breastbone to feel for changes.
  • · Standing with your hands on your hips, look in a mirror for changes in size, shape, contour or coloring of your breasts.

How often should you do a self exam?

Monthly. but, not around your menstrual cycle.

Can your partner also perform a breast exam?

Yes. The same guidelines apply as if you are doing it yourself. Having your partner get involved is a great way for him to show his support. It is true, Real Men Wear Pink.

What am I looking for during a self exam?

Changes in your breast tissue. It is normal for breast tissue to change during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause, or while taking birth control pills or other hormone therapy. However, if you notice changes at other times in your life, it is strongly suggested that you visit a doctor immediately.

Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following changes to your breast or nipple tissue while doing a self-exam:

More in-depth information on how to perform a breast self exam available at ww5.komen.org. This site also provides a Breast Self-Awareness Interactive Tool that you can view. Or, check out www.breastcancer.org, for great information and demonstrations.

For more information on women’s health, check out our blogs.

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