How to self-examine your breasts

A breast self-exam for breast awareness is an inspection of your breasts that you do on your own. To help increase your breast awareness, you use your eyes and hands to determine if there are any changes to the look and feel of your breasts.

In the video below Pall Mall GP, Dr, Vadia shows us the ways in which you can self-examine your breasts each month in order to help you notice any abnormal changes.

Breast self-exam, or regularly examining your breasts on your own, can be an important way to find breast cancer early. Four out of ten of breast cancers are found by women self-examining, so it’s crucial you check your breasts monthly, no matter your age.

There are three techniques of inspection:

  • Place both hands either side of your body and look at your breasts for any signs of swelling, lumps or puckering or swelling. Also ensure you check the nipples for evidence of cracks or inversion
  • Next, place both hands above your head and look down at your breasts for any hidden swelling or lumps
  • Finally, place the palms of hands either side of hips – gently lean forward and look to identify any puckering or skin dimpling that wasn’t previously visible

Once the inspection process is complete you can move on to the palpation process:

Use the three middle fingers of your hand to check the breast on the opposite side of your body. Ensure you use the palm of your fingers rather than the fingertips.

It is useful to follow a pattern to ensure all areas are being checked, try moving in circular strokes from the nipple proceeding outwards.

It’s important that the whole breast area is covered, this includes the collar bone area, breastbone area, under the breast and finally covering the entire armpit area.

For the final stage of the palpation process you should lye down with one hand above your head, gently palpate your breasts as above for any lumps.

In the event that you do find a lump, please contact your GP or any of Pall Mall Medical’s doctors promptly for a full examination.

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