Examining your breasts is one way to detect signs of a problem. Here are some techniques for self-examination:
- In the shower – Move your fingers (flat and together) gently over every part of each breast. Use your right hand to examine your left breast, your left hand for the right breast. Check for any lump, hard knot or thickening. Carefully observe any changes in your breasts.
- In front of a mirror – Inspect your breasts with arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in contour of each breast, a swelling, a dimpling of skin or changes in the nipple. Then rest palms on hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women's breasts do.
- Lying down – Place a pillow under your right shoulder, with your right arm behind your head. With fingers of your left hand flat, press your right breast gently in small circular motions, moving vertically or in a circular pattern, covering the entire breast. Use light, medium and firm pressure. Squeeze your nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
For more about how to conduct a self-examination, including illustrations, click here. A breast self-exam should not take the place of annual mammograms.
The American Cancer Society recommends that all women should have a baseline screening mammogram between the age of 35 and 40, and that beginning at the age of 40 women should have an annual screening mammogram. In addition to an annual screening for women 40 and older, women with certain risk factors should discuss an appropriate screening program with their physicians.
Call 770.836.9721 now to schedule a mammogram, then sign up to receive an e-mail reminder from Tanner when it's time for your next one!