Self examination of the breast
· Ninety percent of breast cancers are found by the woman or her partner. For this reason it is important that women understand the importance of examining the breast on a monthly basis.
· During pregnancy there is no special time of the month that is best to reform the examination.
· In non pregnant women, 5 days after cessation of menstruation, it is the optimum time to detect changes.
· It is easier to examine breast when hands are soapy.
· With your right hand behind your head, examine your right breast with your left hand using a grid or circular motion reverse the procedure to examine the other breast.
Stand in front of a mirror for further inspection
· With arms at sides looks for
- Changes in size and shape of breasts
- Changes in skin dimpling, puckering, scaling, redness, swelling
- Changes in nipple inversion, scaling, discharge from nipples pointing in different directions.
· Holding arms over the head, inspect closely in the mirror for masses, breast symmetry, puckering.
· Press hands firmly on hips, below slightly forward. Inspect in mirror for lumps or pulling of the skin.
· Each breast should be a mirror image of the other. If you think you detect a lump in breast, check the other side to see if it feels the same. If so this is undoubtedly normal tissue. Examine using the circular or grid motion as in the shower.
· Gently squeeze the nipple of each breast between your thumb and index finger to check for signs of discharge or bleeding.
Lying flat on your back, with your right hand under your head and a pillow or towel under your right shoulder, use your left hand to gently feel your right breast, using concentric circles to cover the entire breast and nipple. Repeat on your left breast.