Breast self-examination (Figure 3) may be performed every month, preferably at the same point in the menstrual cycle, e.g. five days after the last day of the your period. Follow these steps when performing self-examination:
(a) Stand up in front of a mirror with your arms down by your sides. Make sure that the room has good lighting.
(b) Look for any changes in the basic appearance of your breasts, such as puckering of the skin, in-drawing of the nipple, or enlargement of one breast.
(c) Repeat this with your arms raised above your head – this will make certain abnormalities more obvious.
(d) Next, lie flat on your back on a firm, comfortable surface, such as a bed. Using the flat parts (pads) of your fingers to feel your breasts, begin with the right hand examining the left breast, and the left hand examining the right breast.
(e) Move your fingers in a circular motion and examine each quarter of the breast. Remember that the breast extends up to the collarbone and across into the armpit – so examine these areas too. (Remember that the lymph glands draining the breasts are located in the armpits, and breast cancer may spread to these glands causing their enlargement.). There is no evidence that breast-self exam cuts down the risk of dying of breast cancer. It may increase anxiety.
Examination by a Doctor
It is recommended that women become aware of their normal breasts and report any changes to their doctor. If you discover any changes, consult your doctor! His examination of your breasts will involve going through similar steps.