There are many things on our monthly to-do list; pay our bills, pay rent, start a 30 day challenge, start a new calendar, and now you can add ‘perform a breast self-examination’ to your list. Self-examinations have helped many women seek medical attention and have saved many lives.
Breast examinations are pretty simple. Just take a couple of minutes each month and dedicate that time to examine your breasts for anything that may look or feel odd. Of course this is not an official way to diagnose yourself with anything, this is simply a way to help you know if you should probably make a trip to the doctor’s office.
Check out these three self-examinations you can do at home!
In front of a mirror. Changing into your pajamas for the night? Don’t put your t-shirt on just yet! Stand in front of a mirror and do a quick visual examination of your breasts. Put your arms to your sides and look around your breasts, is there any swelling, dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples? Raise your arms and do the same examining near your armpits. Once you have completed this, rest your palms on your hips and press, this will help you flex your chest muscles and allow you to see any dimpling or puckering of the chest.
Lying down. Getting ready to go to bed? Have an extra five minutes in the morning before you need to get up? Check up on your breasts. Start off by placing a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Then begin moving your left hand fingers around your right breast in soft, small circular motions. Start off with light pressure and gradually go to medium and firm pressure. Make sure to do this along your entire breast area and armpit. Lastly, squeeze the nipple to check for discharge and lumps.
Repeat all of these steps but for your left breast.
Why do this while lying down? Well when you lay down your breast tissue spreads out evenly along your chest. Therefore you are able to get a different inspection versus in the shower and in front of the mirror.
In the shower. Once a month take an extra 5 minutes in the shower and feel around your breast for anything abnormal. Some women find it easier to examine their breast in the shower because their skin is slippery and it is easier to move around. Make sure to follow the same steps as you take while lying down.
Remember, knowing your body is important. The more you know about your body the higher the chance you will have for noticing when something is just not right. Make sure to do your self-examinations each month, get a yearly checkup, and take a trip to the doctor’s office if something seems a bit off. Early detection of anything is important!
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