Stop Breast Cancer in its Tracks by Performing Self-Exams at Home
Early detection is the key when it comes to breast cancer survival. Performing self-exams in your home is one way that you can be sure you find anything suspicious as soon as possible. These self-exams should be done at least once a month by following the steps outlined below from breastcancer.org.
- Stand in front of a mirror. Straighten your shoulders and place your arms on your hips. Check to see that your breasts are the same size, shape, and color that you see normally and that they are evenly shaped. If you notice dimpling, puckering, bulging of the skin, a nipple that has changed position, an inverted nipple, soreness, redness, rashes, or swelling, let your doctor know immediately.
- Raise your arms above your head and check your breasts again, looking for the same changes.
- Check for any signs of fluid coming from either or both nipples. This can include anything from watery, milky, or yellow fluid to blood.
- Lie down and use your right hand to feel your left breast and vice versa. Keep your fingers flat and close together and use a firm touch in a circular motion. Be sure to cover your entire breast, going from both top to bottom and side to side. The area should include your collarbone to the top of your abdomen and from your armpit to your cleavage. Increase the amount of pressure you use as you move from the front to the back of each breast.
- Lastly, stand or sit and feel your breasts. An easy way to do this is by performing this step of the exam in the shower. Use the same movements you did while lying down.
If at any point you feel something abnormal, including lumps or changes, be sure to reach out to your doctor immediately to set up an in-office exam. You can see diagrams and in-depth self-exam steps here.
Have you been diagnosed with breast cancer and want to connect with other women who are in your situation? The Women Helping Other Women Breast Cancer Support Group meets at the Baptist Women’s Health Center at 7 pm on the second Tuesday of each month.