Step by Step Self-Breast Exam

woman physician with young female patient

A breast self-exam is an important screening method for preventing breast cancer especially for women who are too young to get mammograms. A breast self-exam can also help you become familiar with the way your breasts look and feel so that you become aware of any changes.

Step 1

Hold your shoulders straight and put your arms against your hips as you look in the mirror. Check to see whether your breasts have their normal size, shape, and color. Look to make sure your nipples haven’t changed position or look like they’re pushed inward. Also check for any skin changes such as redness, swelling, or dimpling.

Step 2

Raise your arms above your head and look for the same changes as you did in step 1.

Step 3

Look for any evidence of fluid – which may look watery, milky, yellow, or bloody – coming from one or both nipples.

Step 4

Lie down and feel each breast one at a time using the opposite hand. Put your fingers together and keep them flat, and work in a circular pattern with your first few finger pads.

Feel your entire breast, from your collarbone to the top of your belly and from your armpit to your cleavage. To make sure you cover your entire breast, you can move your fingers up and down in rows. Repeat using light, medium, and firm pressure to make sure you can feel all of your breast tissue.

Step 5

Stand or sit down, and feel your breasts the same way you did in step 4. This may be easier if you do it in the shower.

If you’ve seen or felt any changes in your breasts, make an appointment with Tri-County Medical Clinic today. Our family medicine practice provides a wide range of women’s health services and can conduct a physical examination as well as any necessary testing to look for evidence of a problem.

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