Personal Health Advice & Wellbeing

Advice on how to self-examine your breast

There are three ways to self-examine your breast.

When and how often should you check your breast

You should check both your breasts once a month, looking for any changes and feeling for any abnormalities, nipple discharge, thickening or hardened lumps.

If you notice any difference or changes, then it is always better to get it checked and evaluated by your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible.

If you would like further advice on the breast care support I give, then please see my other pages or get in touch. I am based in North Warwickshire and can visit you throughout England.
In front of the mirror

In front of the mirror

As you stand or sit in front of the mirror, carry out a visual inspection of your breast with your arms at your sides. The next step is to raise your arms high above your head.
You are looking for any changes to your breast and the contour, i.e. any dimpling of the skin, swelling or changes to your nipples. 
Next stand with your palms on your hips and flex your chest muscles, again look for any dimpling, puckering or any changes, particularly to one side of your breast.

Please note your right and left breast will differ in size and shape and will not match each other.
Lying down

Lying down

Lying down is a good way to self-examine, because when lying down your breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall.
Always place a pillow under the shoulder of the breast you are about to examine, for example place a pillow under your right shoulder and place your right hand behind your head. Then using your left hand, move the pads of your finger-tips around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire area of your breast and armpit. Use light, medium and firm pressure.

Check your nipples for any discharge and lumps by gently squeezing them. Then repeat the same steps on your left breast.

In the shower

I personally find this an easy way to carry out my self-examination, as the soap/shower-gel makes it easier for finger pads to move around the breast. 

Again move around your entire breast in a circular motion, moving from the outside in, checking both breast and not forgetting your very important armpit area.
In the shower
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

By carrying out your self-examination, you will become familiar with your breast and this will help you identify any changes sooner rather than later. This is very important because by spotting a change sooner, it will make all the difference should you be diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

However signs and symptoms of breast cancer, does not automatically mean that you have breast cancer.
I believe everyone should be aware of the signs.
breast and nipple feels

Changes to how the breast and nipple feels

  • Changes in the texture of the skin, or enlargement of the pores in the skin, similar to an orange peel texture.
  • Tenderness of the nipple. A thickening or lump in or near the breast or under the armpit area.  
  • A lump in the breast (remember all lumps need to be investigated by your doctor or healthcare professional) and not all lumps are cancerous.

Changes to the appearance of the breast and nipple

  • Any dimpling anywhere in or on the breast tissue
  • Unexplained changes in the size and shape of your breast
  • Unexplained swelling of one or both of your breast (remember one side is normally larger than the other)
  • Unexplained shrinkage, especially if just one side of your breast
  • There is only a few people whose breast are both the same size, therefore if the onset of asymmetry is recent, then this should be checked out
  • A nipple that has turned inward or inverted
  • The skin of the breast, nipple or areola that becomes scaly, red, swollen or has ridges or pitting resembling the skin of an orange
  • The discharge from a nipple, particularly clear or blood discharge. But any discharge should be investigated, even a milky discharge that is present when a women is not breastfeeding, should also be checked by your doctor or healthcare provider
breast tissue
If in doubt, get it checked out!  Contact your doctor or healthcare adviser as soon as possible. Prevention is better than cure.    For information on the services in North Warwickshire and beyond, I offer then call us now on 07812 158 062

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