Check your bumps for lumps

Self-examining your breasts should be a habit

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In conjunction with International Women’s Day, an annual celebration that falls on March 8, we’d like to enlighten you on the simplest method to perform a breast self-exam as well as its importance.

A breast self-exam is an examination of your breasts that you do by yourself. This helps to increase your awareness of your breasts by determining if there are any changes to the look and feel of your breasts. Regular breast examination is an important way to detect breast cancer at an early stage and when detected early, there is a higher chance you may have more treatment options with a higher success rate.

To guide you, below are simple instructions on how to perform a breast self-exam.

STEP 1: LYING DOWN

  • Lie down on your back with a pillow under your left shoulder. 
  • Use the pads of your fingers on your right hand and check your left breast by slightly pressing in a circular motion from the outside to the centre of your breast.
  • Continue by putting medium to firm pressure onto your breast and move in a circular motion again. 
  • Try and feel for changes in your breast and around your chest area such as the collarbone and around your under arm. 
  • Repeat this same step on your right breast with your left hand.

Side tip: You can carry out these steps in the shower too!

STEP 2: MIRROR BREAST SELF EXAMINATION

Inspect your breasts in just three steps:

  • Hold both arms above your head. 
  • Inspects your breasts for any changes in shape or visible swelling. 
  • Continue with the next step by:
  1. Pressing your hands on your hips and flex your chest muscles.
  2. Look for anything unusual like puckering or any bulging on your breasts. 
  3. Next, raise your arm over your head and feel your breasts by using an up-and-down approach with your fingers. 
  4. What you should look for are breasts that are evenly shaped without any swelling or distortion.

If you notice any changes in the shape of your breasts or an unusual shape or lump, then it is best to meet your doctor for further tests.

Sources: Mission Regional Medical Center

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