Breast Self Exams?
May 5, 2007 8:09pm CST
A breast self-exam involves both visual and physical examination of your breasts. Visual examination Disrobe and stand in front of a mirror with your arms at your sides. Visually inspect your breasts while facing forward and while turning from side to side. You're looking for any signs of puckering, dimpling or changes in size, shape or symmetry. Check to see if your nipples are turned in (inverted). Look for these same signs with your arms in two other positions: hands on your hips and hands raised overhead, palms pressed together. Physical examination Examine your breasts either in the shower or while lying down with no shirt or bra on. If you choose to perform the exam in the shower, lather your fingers and breasts with soap to help your fingers glide more smoothly over your wet skin. If you choose to examine your breasts while lying down, choose a bed or other flat surface to lie on. You can use one of two patterns to examine your breasts: * Clock pattern. Place your left hand behind your head and examine your left breast with your right hand. Think of your breast as the face of a clock. Place your right hand at 12 o'clock — at the very top of your breast. Using the pads of your three middle fingers, press firmly in a slight circling, massaging motion. Feel for lumps as you move your hand down to 1 o'clock then 2 o'clock, continuing until you return to 12 o'clock. Slide your fingers closer to the nipple and repeat the circling motion around the imaginary clock face. Continue in increasingly smaller circles until you reach the nipple. Check the tissue under the nipple and look for discharge. Also check the tissue under your armpit, as well as tissue surrounding the breast, using the same firm, circling motion. Place your right hand behind your head and repeat the examination on your right breast using your left hand. * Wedge pattern. Place your left hand behind your head and examine your left breast with your right hand. Imagine your breast to be a circle divided into wedges, like pieces of a pie. Starting at the top of the circle about a half-inch below your collarbone, use the pads of your three middle fingers to examine your breast. Press firmly in a slight circling, massaging motion as you slide your fingers inward toward your nipple. Once you've examined the breast tissue in that wedge, move in a clockwise direction 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. As an alternative to the circling, massaging motion described for the clock and wedge patterns, you may find a sweeping technique somewhat easier to perform. With this technique you sweep your three middle fingers from your collarbone down to your nipple. Work in a clockwise direction, always sweeping your fingers from the outside of your breast in toward your nipple. To feel the deeper tissue, repeat the process using a walking motion with your fingers. Finally, check the lymph nodes under each arm. No matter which technique you choose, be sure to check your nipple for any 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. Touching or gently pressing a breast lump may cause some discomfort. If you do detect any changes or a lump, see your doctor promptly. Do you do your self exams once a month like you're supposed to? I get so lax about mine even though I know there's breast cancer in my family, so I've sort of made a deal with myself to do it whenever I think about it instead of putting it off. After all.. it only takes a few minutes.
9 May 07
Thank you for this post... very detailed, very helpful, actually i've heard this before but never tried it until now.Thanks to people like you who cares to inform others about this. Keep it up Breepeace!!! God bless