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April 2010
Self-Check for Breast Cancer
 
You must begin your regular breast self-exam from the age of 20 onwards, every month, right after your menstrual period. Women who have attained their menopause can fix a particular date every month. The following are the steps you need to follow to perform a breast self-exam.
 

In the shower
  1. With your hands lathered with soap, check for any lumps or thickening in the underarm area. Use your right hand to feel the left armpit and then repeat on the other side.
  2. Similarly, check for lumps or thickenings above and below both sides of your collarbone.
  3. Raise one arm behind your head to spread out the breast tissue. Use the flat part of your fingers to press gently into the breast, moving from the bra line to the collarbone to cover the entire breast. Repeat on the other side.
In the mirror
  • Examine your breasts in the mirror, with your hands by your side. Look for obvious changes in size, shape or position, or discolouration. Watch out for changes in skin such as puckering, dimpling, sores. Inspect your nipples for any sores, peeling or change in the direction of the nipples.
  • Now bend forward towards the mirror to let your breasts fall forward. Look for any changes in the shape or contour of your breasts.
  • Next, clasp your hands behind your head and press your hands forward. Turning from side to side, check the outer sides of your breasts. Lift up your breasts to inspect the border underneath your breasts.
  • Squeeze your nipples to check for any discharge.

Lying down
  • Lie down with a small pillow under your right shoulder. Put your right hand behind your head and examine the upper portion of your right breast with your left hand, fingers flat and together.
  • Picture your breast to be the face of a clock. Begin at 12 O’clock and move clockwise towards 1 O’clock and onwards in slow circular movements. Continue around the entire circle until you reach 12 O’clock again, and then move in one inch towards the nipple to complete another circle around the clock. Continue in this pattern until you have felt the entire breast.
  • Place your fingers flat and directly on top of your nipple. Feel beneath the nipple for any changes. Gently press your nipple inward. It should move easily.
  • Now place the small pillow under your left shoulder, and repeat the entire process for your left breast.

 


    
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