How to Self‐Examine Your Breasts Properly

self breast exam

The importance of breast cancer awareness cannot be expressed enough.

Being knowledgeable about cancer’s early symptoms and screenings available is essential for beating the deadly disease. Being proactive and learning how to you should perform a breast self-examination can save your life.

Awareness has the potential to cure breast cancer

Awareness creates a global platform in which we can express the impact breast cancer has on your well-being and the way it shapes your community. It’s vital to share your knowledge about breast self-exams with everyone in your life.

With more than 30 years of practice, SaludMovil’s Dr.Mosquera can name countless patients that have discovered a breast lesion during a self-examination at home-on their own and early enough- leading to a treatable and often curable diagnosis.

In fact, 40% of all diagnosed breast cancers in the U.S. are detected by women who feel a lump at home, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important, according to John’s Hopkins Medical Center.

Monitoring through breast self-exams is a simple and a very helpful practice to detect lesions early and treat them effectively.

What exactly is Breast Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control,  and Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of breast tissue. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too.

How to properly do the breast self-exam

In regards to the timing, place, and frequency of breast self-exams, here are 3 helpful tips:

  • Begin Breast Self-Exam (BSE) in your 20s.
  • The best time to do a breast self-exam is often while showering, 5-7 days after menstruation or just at night while relaxing in bed.
  • Get accustomed to your own “feel” of breast tissue so if something new grows, you’ll probably notice the difference.

Here is a quick and easy summary of 4 steps to the self-breast exam:

  1. Lie down on your back and place your right arm behind your head.
  2. Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast.
  3. Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue.
  4. Move around the breast in an up and down pattern

For a complete guide to self breast exams, I recommend the following site: American Cancer Society

Why are regular breast self-exams so important?

By regularly checking your body, you will learn the the benefits of self-examination such as knowing the size, shape, and feel of your breasts in order to detect any sort of abnormalities around the area.

What do I do when I find something has changed with my breast tissue?

If you notice any abnormal changes in your breasts, seek medical help as soon as possible. It is always best to alert your healthcare professional in order for he or she to diagnose you. Knowing your body and taking charge can make all the difference.

Remember, self-monitoring does not replace mammograms or other breast cancer screenings

On a final note, it is important to always remember that self-monitoring is a complement to normal cancer screening with a mammogram, ultrasound, or MRI. Self-monitoring does not replace these tests.

The cancer screenings that must be coordinated with a healthcare professional are very important for detection and knowing the severity and nature of your lump(s).

Never forget that with healthcare knowledge is power. When you educate and prepare yourself, you become the best kind of patient: one with utility and agency.