Checking your breasts for lumps will certainly help you detect abnormal changes in your breasts and possible developments of breast cancer.
As your breasts develop, some small lumps or other changes in the breasts occur. They even become more sensitive during your monthly period. These, however, are normal occurrences. Learning how to check your breasts for lumps is not entirely difficult, though it may be quite uncomfortable at first. You just have to remember that examining your breasts regularly will help you be familiar with how they look and feel.
It’s a good idea to examine your breasts once a month. The best time to do it is about a week after your period starts, since it is when your breasts are less tender. A lot of women learn about their breast problems themselves when they perform breast self-examination (BSE). Cysts, benign breast problems, or other conditions that may need a doctor’s attention can first be discovered during BSE. This can be done in a few minutes and is quite easy. This involves checking your breasts while standing in front of a mirror to observe any changes in appearance or lying down in various positions. The process encompasses: Here is how:
Observing how your breasts look. BSE includes observing how your breasts look like and how they feel. We start with how they look. To do this, stand or sit in front of mirror with your arms at your sides. Look at your breasts and observe if there are any abnormalities in the appearance of your nipples, changes in your skin, or the color of your breasts. Then view yourself from various angles and arm positions. From your hands at your sides, raise them overhead, then put them firmly on your hips, and then bend forward. Again, be very keen for possible changes in your breasts.
Examining your breasts. This could be quite uncomfortable, especially if it’s your first time, but you will eventually get used to it. Just think that it is your way of ensuring healthy breasts. To do this, lie down flat on your back. If you would like to begin examining your left breast, then put a pillow or towel under your left shoulder, raise your left arm, then place your left hand behind your head, and then use your right hand to feel your breast. Do the same procedure for your other breast.
To examine your breasts, use the pads of your three middle fingers in applying various levels of pressure to feel the different layers of tissue. Begin with a light pressure to feel the tissues that are closest to the skin surface. Then, gradually increase to medium pressure and then end up with a firm pressure to feel the deepest tissues, especially those that are closest to your breastbone and ribs.
You need to move your fingers in overlapping circular motions, making sure that all parts of the breast are covered. Feel all the tissue from the collarbone to the bra line and from the armpit to the breastbone. Begin in the armpit and move down to the bottom of the bra line. Then move gradually toward the middle and work up to the collarbone. Be mindful of lumps or spots that are unusual to your touch. After your thorough examination of your breast, gently squeeze your nipples to see if there are any forms of discharge.
Most breasts have some lumps or thick tissues. If you feel any lump on one breast, then you can check the other breast for the same type of lump. If the lump appears on both sides, then your breasts may be normal. But if you are in doubt, you can always consult your doctor regarding your lumps as soon as possible. Be more attentive to lumps that are harder than most parts of your breast. Also remember, however, that most breast problems are not because of cancer. Thus, any changes in the breasts or lump formation discovered during BSE should be evaluated by the doctor.