Jan 2009

Breast Cancer & Self-Examination

Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight & your arms on your hips.Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight & your arms on your hips.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Breasts that are their usual size, shape and colour.
  • Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling. If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:
  • Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin.
  • A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward)
  • Redness, soreness, rash, swelling, or discharge.

Step 2

Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

While you’re at the mirror, gently squeeze each nipple between your finger and thumb and check for nipple discharge (this could be milky, yellow fluid or blood).

Step 3

Next, feel the breasts while lying down.Next, feel the breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the fingers of your hand keeping the fingers flat & together.

Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side, from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen and from your armpit to your cleavage. Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn.

Be sure to feel the breast tissue just beneath your skin with a soft touch and down deeper with a firmer touch. Begin examining each area with a very soft touch and then increase pressure so that you can feel the deeper tissue, down to the ribcage.

Step 4

Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting.Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting.

Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet or slippery, so they like to do the examination in the shower, or put some lotion on your fingers before beginning your examination, making sure to cover your entire breast area, using the same hand movements described in step 3.

What next?

For more information contact us: 01202-257478
or email: overtherainbow2@dchft.nhs.uk

Staff are present Tuesday - Friday, 10am to 5pm at Over The Rainbow, Bournemouth and at other venues throughout the county.

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