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How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam

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How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam

Checking Your Breast Tissue for Causes for Concern

Regularly examining your breasts between appointments with your OB/GYN is essential when it comes to detecting signs of breast cancer early on. The health experts at McDonough District Hospital are here to share some tips to help you to perform a thorough self-exam.

How Often Should You Do a Self-Exam?

Regardless of age, all women should be checking their breasts for lumps, bumps, and abnormalities at least once a month. By checking your breast tissue more frequently, you can get an idea of what is normal for your breast tissue and what may feel different.

Steps of Doing a Self Exam

Use the Pads of Your Fingers

Holding your three middle fingers together, use your fingertips to massage your breast tissue — using the opposite hand to your breast. Be sure to apply enough pressure without hurting yourself, move your fingers in a circular motion. Be sure to scan the entirety of your breast tissue, also checking under your breasts and under your arms.

Positions to Check Your Breast Tissue

To be as effective as possible when performing a self-exam, utilize the following positions:

  • Perform a check in the shower with your corresponding arm raised above your head.
  • In a full-length mirror with your corresponding arm by your side.
  • Laying on your back with the corresponding arm behind your head.

Issues of Concern

When examining your breast tissue, it is important to know what is and isn’t normal for your body so you can get a better idea of what visual and physical changes may be a cause for concern. When performing your self-exam, look out for the following as they may be a sign of breast cancer:

  • Dimpling of the skin.
  • Changes in the color of your nipples.
  • Changes affecting only one breast.
  • Nipple discharge.
  • Lumps.
  • Thickening of your skin.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, be sure to reach out to your women’s health care team to discuss the next steps.

Women’s Health Services and Diagnostic Imaging in Macomb, Illinois

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To learn more about our women’s health services, visit our website or give us a call at (309) 833-4101.