Partially taken from the work of James Balch, M.D.
Do a breast self-exam monthly. Many lumps are discovered by women themselves. The best time is two to three days after your period, when your breasts are least tender. If you don't menstruate, pick the same day each month.
The Circle Method – Examine the breast in concentric circles starting at the nipple and working out. Use your three middle fingers in a rotary motion, feeling with your finger pads (not tips). Include the area between the breast and the armpit, which also contains breast tissue. Follow this accepted method both standing up and lying down, as outlined below.
- Standing up – Raise one arm. Use your right hand to examine your left breast and your left hand to examine your right breast. With fingers flat, touch every part of each breast, gently feeling for a lump or thickening.
- Lying down – To balance the breast on the chest, place a towel or pillow under your right shoulder and place your right hand behind your head. Examine your right breast with your left hand. Repeat on the other side.
- . In the mirror – Do a visual check of your breasts with arms at your side, then raised above your head. Look carefully for changes in size, shape and contour of each breast. Check for changes in the nipple such as being pulled in.With one hand on hip, tense and push arm forward to make a pocket under the arm and use the same method as when lying down to check this area. Look for puckering, dimpling, or changes in skin texture, color or rashes. Repeat on the other side.