You know your body better than anyone else, and everyone has their own way of checking and touching their breasts, but here are some handy tips to help.
Check your breasts regularly and around the same time the month…
A good time to check your breasts is a few days after you period ends, so you’re not as tender or swollen. Due to hormone levels, you will find that your breast tissue will probably change throughout the month.
If you’re not having periods, check your breasts on the same day every month -pick a day ( the 1st of the month? payday?) -whenever is easiest for you to remember.
If you are pregnant or breast feeding, it is still important to check your breasts every month. When breast feeding, try to examine after a feeding or using a pump, to make it more comfortable.
First, check your breast for visible signs…
Check in the mirror, arms by your sides and shoulders straight.
Are your breasts their usual shape, size and colour? You’re looking for any changes to your breasts, such as soreness, a rash, redness or swelling , skin dimpling/ bulging or to nipple ( inverted or discharge)
Next check your breasts by feeling them…
Position: If you’re starting with your left breast; lay on your back with your left hand under your head. Pop a pillow or something soft under your left shoulder.
Motion: Using your right hand , move around the breast in small circular motions, using the pads of your fingers.
Area: You can either start at the nipple working out in a circular pattern or use an up ‘n’ down pattern ( like you’re mowing a lawn) but be sure to cover the whole area, from collarbone to top of your tummy and from armpit to cleavage area.
Pressure: Use as much pressure as is comfortable for you, but the firmer the better, which, depending on the size and sensitivity of your breasts, will likely mean varying it from lighter around the centre of your breast and nipple area to much firmer at your breastbone, ribcage and armpit.
- For a visual how-to, check out this video from Breakthrough Breast Cancer
When checking your breasts, look out for any of these changes, that don’t disappear…
- Lumps, knots or thickening
- Any swellings, warmth, or a change in tone of the skin
- Changes in the shape and/or size of the breast
- Rash on the breast or nipple,
- Any sore or itchy areas
- Nipple pulling in
- Discharge from your nipple
If you do notice any unusual changes or lumps don’t panic, but don’t ignore them either…
Many lumps are found to be non cancerous, so try not to panic. If it is something more serious, Breast Cancer treatment & prognosis has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years.
So, don’t ignore any changes in your breasts, which don’t disappear after a few days. The sooner a lump or changes are noticed by you and checked out / treated by your Doc the better…