Tips for Performing a Breast Self-Exam

Breast Self-Exam

Breast cancer is the number one cause of cancer in women, affecting approximately one out of every eight women in their lifetime. Although the causes of breast cancer are not fully known, recent developments in medical technology and knowledge have allowed us to detect the disease much earlier than ever before, while it is in its most curable stages. One of the most important aspects of regular screening for all women is the breast self-examination, a procedure that takes only a few minutes and should be performed at least once a month. If you are unaware of the proper procedure for this vital part of breast care , read on to learn more.

Breast self-exams can be performed:

  • In the shower
    While in the shower, move your fingers gently over every part of each breast. Use your right hand with fingers flat to examine the left breast, and the left hand to examine the right. During this examination, you are looking for any abnormal thickening, lump, or hard knot.
     
  • In front of the mirror
    With both arms at your sides, look for any abnormal changes in the shape and contour of each breast. Be on the lookout for any swelling, dimpling of the skin , or changes in the areola (nipple).  Perform this same test with your arms over your head. 
     
  • Lying down
    With a pillow placed under your right shoulder, place the right arm behind your head. Fingers flat, use your left hand to press on the right breast in small circular motions and move vertically or in a circular pattern until the entire breast has been examined. Use light, medium and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple and check for lumps or discharge.  After you have finished, repeat these steps for the left breast.

The Breast Care Center at Regional Medical Center of San Jose provides the women of our community with a safe and comforting environment for the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer. Our specialized staff, including a talented team of radiologists and technologists, is dedicated to providing patients with prompt and accurate results using the most advanced scanning equipment available. Contact Regional Medical Center of San Jose today at (408) 259-4000 to learn more about our comprehensive breast care services.

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