Breasts start developing at the time of puberty in females. Every woman’s breasts are different in size and shape. Breasts react differently to different stages that a woman passes in her life time. They may become tender and swollen prior to menstruation, they change in size when a woman is in her pregnancy and lactation period. After you have reached menopause you might notice some characteristic changes in your breasts.
It is a good idea to do regular breast self examination (BSE). It helps you to get familiar with your breasts and you get to feel any unusual development or growth like a cyst or a lump in your breasts. These cystsor lumps may be cancerous in nature and an early detection will prevent the growth from spreading too deep. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer women are affected with and it is better to know your body for good health.
How To Check Your Breasts For Lumps?
Breast self examination is fairly easy to do. You can do it in two ways i.e. visual and physical.
Visual Examination To Check Your Breasts For Lumps
Visual examination means checking the breasts for lumps by looking at them in a mirror. It should be done in front of a long mirror and the area should be well lit. Stand straight with your hands on your hips and look carefully for any kind of dimples or puckering and observe your nipples and see if they are inverted. Check your breasts from sideways also to notice any change in their shape and size.
You may feel awkward or self conscious but gradually you will feel comfortable and will be able to clinically check your breasts for lumps.
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Physical Examination To Check Your Breasts For Lumps
Physical breast self examination is done by feeling your breasts with your fingers in lying or standing position. You can physically examine your breasts while standing in the shower or standing in front of the mirror. To check your breasts for lumps while standing, raise your left arm above your head and with three middle finger of your right hand check your left breast.
First move your fingers starting from your collar bone towards your nipple, then start from the armpit to the nipple. Similarly move your fingers upwards from below the breast to the nipple and finally from inside the breasts towards the nipple. Keep the pressure firm and strong and do not miss out on any side. Look for the slightest lump or bump.
Do it similarly on the other side. To check your breast in a lying position, lie down straight on a firm mattress and place your right arm beneath your shoulder. Move the tip of middle three fingers of your left hand in clockwise direction to check your right breast for lumps. Start from the position of 12 o’ clock and keep moving the fingers while maintaining a firm pressure. Make a complete rotation till you come back to the starting position.
Do it on the other side in similar manner. You should check the nipples for lumps or cyst or any kind of discharge by pinching and pressing them softly. Some lumps may be normal and should not cause concern but it is still advisable to discuss with your doctor.