Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, especially in women. In 2020, there were around 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer. Other statistics show that 1 in 8 women in the U.S. develops breast cancer in the course of their lives. One of the best ways to diagnose breast cancer is through Breast Self-Exam. In fact, when breast cancer symptoms and breast lumps are spotted early, the treatment is not only easier but also leads to better results.
If you’re wondering how to check for breast lumps, you should perform a breast self-examination at home on a regular basis. Because women over 40 are at a higher risk of finding lumps in breasts, it is recommended that they perform a self-breast examination at home periodically.
To help you understand the process of checking for a breast lump, watch this video below:
How to check for breast cancer at home:
Breast Self-Exam at Home – Inspect your breasts visually
Sit or stand undressed from the waist up in front of a mirror with your arms by your side. The first step is to check if there are any visual changes you can spot. To do this you should:
- Check for changes in size or shape.
- Search for any indents or puckering.
- Make sure your nipples aren’t inverted and turned in.
- Look for any sores or peeling on your nipples.
- Check for any changes in color to your breasts or nipples.
- Check your nipples to see if there’s any discharge fluid.
- Place your hands firmly on your hips, press down, and inspect your breast from side to side.
- Inspect your breasts while bending forward and tightening your chest muscles. When your breasts fall forward, check if there are any changes in shape or color.
Breast Self-Exam at Home – Examine your breasts using your hands
- Lie down on your back on a flat surface. This will help the breast tissue spread out, allowing you to feel any changes in your breast easily.
- Use the pads of your fingers to examine your breasts as they are more sensitive.
- Apply different pressure to feel different depths of the breast tissue. If you’re not sure how hard you should be pressing, check the video above or ask your doctor.
- Don’t rush. You should take your time while examining your breasts, to allow you to carefully and thoroughly check for any lumps in your breasts.
- Follow a routine. You should always start from the same position and follow a pattern to ensure you’ve checked if you have any lumps in your breasts.
Visit a doctor if you find anything unusual
While it is normal to find breast lumps before or during your period, it is best to visit your doctor if you find anything unusual. If you notice any of these changes it is best to have your doctor take a look:
- A hard lump or knot close to your armpit
- Changes in shape, size, or feel of your breasts
- Dimples, puckers, bulges, or ridges on the skin of your breast
- Nipples are inverted instead of sticking out
- Redness, warmth, swelling, or pain
- Itching, scales, sores, or rashes
- Bloody nipple discharge
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Sources used in this article:
- Breast self-exam for breast awareness – Mayo Clinic
- Should You Do a Breast Self-Exam? – Web MD
- Breast Cancer – WHO