With increase in the number of patients with breast cancer, doctors feel it is important for every woman to learn how to perform self examination of breast so that they can report any change in the breasts immediately and protect themselves from cancer. The examination is termed breast self awareness and it helps learn what is normal in one’s case. One should perform breast examination every month. Even pregnant women should perform this examination to become familiar with their appearance and changes happening in their body. The procedure for performing the examination is given below.
Steps To Examine The Breast
Lie down flat and turn to your left side. Position your right hand on your forehead with palm facing upwards. Using your left hand examine the outer part of your right breast. Place a pillow under your back for better support. Use your index finger, middle finger and ring finger for examination of your breast. With the pads of the fingers, make small circles to examine. Observe all tissues of your breast by applying different amounts of pressure – light, medium and deep.
Start examining from your armpit and move downwards towards your bra line. While checking, make sure you do not lift your fingers off the breast. Try to check the entire area by moving your fingers up and down in a strip like fashion. Continue the same till you contact the nipple area.
Once you reach the nipple area, take the pillow you used to support your back and take your hands off your forehead. Now, lie down on your back. Examine the nipple region in the same fashion using fingers. Do not squeeze. Examine the rest of the breast region in the strip pattern and cover the entire breast region. Once you have examined the whole right breast, repeat the same on the left breast, report to the doctor, in case you find anything abnormal during the examination.
Stand facing a mirror and have a closer look at your breast in three positions. First examine from your right, then left and finally from forward position. While observing your breast, watch for any changes in shape, skin, nipple and vein patterns. Observe if there is any discharge of fluid (milky, yellow or watery fluid or blood) from the nipples.
Step V (Mirror Examination)
Stand straight facing the mirror. Place your arms on the sides of your body and observe for any changes in your breast. Raise your arms straight above your head and bend forward and observe for any changes. Finally, Position your hands on your hips and bend forward and observe your breast.