October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: How to Conduct a Breast Self-check

Regular breast self-checks can be an effective screening method for detecting breast cancer in its early, more treatable stages. Learn how to conduct a breast self-check by reading this post.

Breast self-checks are simple “at-home” screening methods for detecting breast lumps. Self-examination of the breasts helps to detect breast cancer, cysts, and other breast abnormalities.

The process is pretty quick and easy to carry out whenever you get dressed or undressed in the morning or at night. Breast enlargement and tenderness are common premenopausal symptoms because hormone levels change throughout the month. Breast self-exams should be carried out anywhere from three to five days after the start of a woman's menstrual period.

How to Conduct a Breast Self-check

Carry out a visual inspection

Stand in front of a mirror without your top or bra. Relax your arms and rest them at your side. Check for alterations in the nipples, skin texture, breast size, and breast shape. Now, with your arms overhead, continue your search. Complete the self-exam by flexing your chest muscles. To do this, press your hands on your hips firmly. Predict further shifts along the same lines. It's important to check out both breasts.

Carry out a standing manual inspection

Feel your left breast for lumps, knots, thickened areas, and other abnormalities with your right hand. Press all over your breasts and underarms with the pads of your three middle fingers. To make sure you don't miss anything, go in a big circle. The pressure should grow from light to firm as you continue. Gently squeeze your nipple to check for any unusual discharge. After that, check your right breast using the same methods with your left hand.

Carry out an inspection while lying down

Next, while lying down, use your right hand to feel your left breast, followed by your left hand to feel your right breast. You should do this to see if you will find any lumps or abnormalities. Touch firmly and smoothly with the pads of your first few fingers while ensuring that your hands are flat and your fingers together. Make a quarter-sized circle with your fingers by pressing down and moving them around (or an inch around).

You should have full coverage from your collarbone to your upper abdomen and from your armpit to your cleavage, including your breasts. Cover the entire breast by following a specific pattern. You can start at the nipple and work your way out to the breast edge in ever-widening circles. It is also possible to "mow" the lawn by moving your fingers vertically in rows. Most women benefit from this up-and-down method. Apply gentle pressure to the skin and superficial tissue beneath it, medium pressure to the tissue in the center of your breasts, and firm pressure to the deep tissue in the back. You should feel your ribcage when you've reached the deep tissue.

Conclusion

A self-exam once a month is necessary if you want to keep your breasts healthy and spot any signs of lumps early. All you need to do is include the procedures above in your routine. Breast self-examinations are a great way to get to know your body better. By familiarizing yourself with your typical experiences, you can better recognize when something is off.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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