Hijab News

October 7, 2009

How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam


I found this in the Mayo Clinic website and wanted to share with you guys. The original article can be found here. If you don't know how to do it there are illustrations on the site.

What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic staff

Keep in mind that most women have lumps in their breasts or changes that fluctuate with their menstrual cycles. So there's no need to panic if you notice lumps or changes. A firm ridge along the bottom of each breast is normal, for instance. In addition, breasts often feel different in different places. For example, they might feel lumpy near your armpit, sandy in the lower half and have a thicker, granular texture below the nipple.

How to perform a breast self-exam
Start by looking closely at your breasts. Stand shirtless and braless in front of a mirror with your arms at your sides.

  • Face forward and look for puckering, dimpling or changes in size, shape or symmetry.
  • Check to see if your nipples are turned in (inverted).
  • Inspect your breasts with your hands pressed down on your hips.
  • Inspect your breasts with your arms raised overhead and the palms of your hands pressed together.
  • Lift your breasts to see if ridges along the bottom are symmetrical.

Perform the manual part of the exam lying down or in the shower. There's some evidence that lying down is most effective, according to the American Cancer Society. That's because breast tissue spreads out, making it thinner and easier to feel.

If you do the exam lying down, choose a bed or other flat surface to lie on. If you choose the shower, lather your fingers and breasts with soap to help your fingers glide more smoothly over your skin.

There are two breast exam techniques, including the up-and-down pattern and the wedge pattern. Follow these tips for both techniques:

  • Use the pads, not the very tips, of your three middle fingers for the exam.
  • Use enough pressure so that you can feel through the tissue but not so much that you cause discomfort or press into your ribs. The goal is to feel different depths of the breast.
  • Don't rush. It may take several minutes to carefully examine your breasts.
  • Examine your upper chest area, above your breasts.
  • Examine your armpits while sitting or standing with your arm partially raised above your head.
  • Examine your nipples and look for discharge. Do this by gently pinching the nipple with your fingers positioned at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock and again with your fingers at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock.

Breast exam using the up-and-down technique

  • Place your left hand behind your head and examine your left breast with your right hand.
  • Sweep your three middle fingers up and then down.
  • Each up-and-down motion should span from your collarbone area all the way to the rib cage below your breasts.
  • Begin near your armpit and work your way to the center of your chest until you have completely examined your breast and underarm.
  • Place your right hand behind your head and repeat the examination on your right breast using your left hand.

Breast exam using a wedge pattern

  • Visualize your breast as a circle divided into wedges, like pieces of a pie.
  • Place your left hand behind your head and examine your left breast with your right hand.
  • Place your right hand at the very top of your breast near the collarbone.
  • Press the pads of your three middle fingers firmly on your breast and slide down toward the nipple. If it causes discomfort, lighten the pressure slightly.
  • Examine the breast tissue in the entire wedge — or piece of pie.
  • Move your fingers clockwise to the next wedge in the circle.
  • Continue examining your breast in this manner until you've completely examined your breast and underarm.
  • Place your right hand behind your head and repeat the examination on your right breast using your left hand.

(source for the image)

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