Once a month
Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month(3 to 5 days after your period). Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.Here's what you should look for:
- Size, shape and color of the breast.
- Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling.
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor's attention:
- Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin.
- A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out).
- Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling.
How should a breast self-exam be performed?
- In the Shower:Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.
- In Front of a Mirror: Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match. look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes particularly on one side.
- Lying Down: When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit. Use light, medium and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.