Regularly examining your breasts on your own, is one important way to find a breast cancer early thereby giving higher chances for it to be treated successfully. While no single test can detect all breast cancers early, performing breast self-exam in combination with other screening methods can increase the odds of early detection.
Breast self-examination is a useful and important screening tool, especially when used in combination with regular physical exams by a doctor, mammography, and in some cases ultrasound and/or MRI. While each of these screening tools works in different ways and has advantagesand ddisadvantages, Breast self-exam is a convenient, no-cost tool that you can use on a regular basis and at any age. We recommend that all women routinely perform breast self-exams as part of their overall breast cancer screening strategy.
How To Perform Self Breast Examination
- Expose your body from your waist upwards and lie down with your head on a pillow.
- When examining your left breast, place your left hand at the back of your head while feeling with your right hand so your breast tissue can spread out over your chest wall. When you go on to the right breast, place your right hand behind your head instead. This will make it easier for you to feel your breast tissue.
- With two imaginary lines, divide your breast into four quadrants with your nipple at the centre.
- Begin to feel your breast, moving quadrant by quadrant. Do not poke your breast with the tips of your fingers but feel with the pads of your three middle fingers.
- Use the pads of your fingers to press your nipple down gently to check for any lump beneath your nipple.
- Repeat the steps when examining the other breast.
The downside of self breast examination is that you may begin to feel anxious even when there is nothing to worry about.