How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam

Visiting a doctor for regular checkups is important, but women can take equally important steps while they’re at home. An example: self-exams for breast cancer. Too few women perform this essential task. I believe that if women understand how simple it is to perform a breast self-exam, they’ll be more likely to add it to their routine.

Here’s a step-by-step overview:

Perform a self-exam at least once a month.
First, stand in front of the mirror with your hands on your hips. Look for a difference in size, shape, or color. Keep an eye out for dimpling or puckering of the skin, changes in nipple position or an inverted nipple, nipple discharge, and redness or rash.
Look for these same conditions with your arms raised over your head.
Lay down. Use your right hand to feel your left breast and your left hand to feel your right breast. With a firm touch, keeping your fingers together, use a circular motion to cover your entire breast from top to bottom and side to side. Instead of a circular motion, some women prefer to move fingers up and down in vertical rows. This is an acceptable option. Cover the entire breast from the collarbone to the top of the abdomen, from your armpit to your cleavage.
In the shower, repeat the directions above.

Early detection of breast cancer can vastly improve prognosis. A self-exam is an easy step that can make a big difference. Along with my Orange County breast cancer patients, women who know firsthand the importance of early detection, we’re spreading the message about the value of self-exams.


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