01 Dec How to do a self breast check
If you are familiar with the way your breasts look and feel, it will make it easier to notice if any changes occur. From your 20s onwards, do the following checks once a month:
What to do:
- Stand in front of a mirror with your hands on your hips and shoulders straight. Look at the shape, colour and size of your breasts and nipples.
- Next, while still looking in the mirror, raise your arms in the air and look for the same things – shape, colour and size of your breasts and nipples.
A visual check of your breasts will help you to see:
- the contours of your breasts
- any changes to their usual shape and colour
- any discharge from the nipple
- any redness, rash or swelling.
What to do:
Feel your breasts while you are under the shower.
This is a personal choice, but some women prefer to feel their breasts when they are wet and slippery as it helps them to notice any changes.
Feel your breasts while lying down with your arm bent at the elbow and resting above your head. Stretch your hands so your palms and fingers are flat like a plate – this will allow you to feel without poking your breasts.
Make sure you feel the entire breast area from your collarbone to your tummy, and include your armpits.
This will allow you to feel without poking your breasts. It is another helpful way to look for:
- areas that are painful
- skin that is:
- different from before.
If you detect a new lump, don’t panic. Research shows that 9 in 10 breast lumps are not cancer.
When to see your doctor
You should see your doctor about:
- new lumps
- new lumpiness
- changes in the shape of your breast
- changes in the colour of your breast
- changes in the nipple
- discharge from your nipple
- puckering or dimpling of breast skin
- any persistent breast pain
- any persistent nipple or breast itching or rash.
Info courtesy of Jean Hailes Foundation.