How to do a breast self-exam

Doing regular breast self-exams is something we feel every woman should be comfortable with as it’s a part of our overall reproductive health.

Which is also why we inform our Cyclers in the Natural Cycles app, when it’s best to do a breast self-exam. This will be shortly after your period, as your breasts are unlikely to be swollen and sore due to PMS symptoms. We send a message to women over thirty years of age automatically, as risk is increased, but everyone can set an automatic reminder in the app as they wish no matter what age.

This month is breast cancer awareness month, so we want to encourage you to learn how to do a self breast-exam and become more in tune with your body with our step by step guide on how to carry out a breast self-exam at home below.

This, of course, does not replace professional diagnosis and should you have any reason for concern, be sure to consult your doctor or gynecologist.

1.Visual mirror check

Begin the breast self-exam by stripping down to a bare upper body and taking a look at your breasts in the mirror.

Visually examine your breast in the mirror and check if:

  • Your breasts are their usual size, shape and colour
  • Check if there are any visual distortions or swellings. Some changes you might want to discuss with your doctor: dimpling, puckering or bulging of the skin, lumps, nipple distortion, fluid, redness, soreness not due to PMS, rash or swelling.

Also be sure to take a closer look at your armpit area as well by raising your arms overhead.

2.Examining with fingertips

You should examine your breasts with your fingertips, both while standing or sitting up and also whilst lying down flat on your back.

Tip: you might find it easier to do this in the shower as your skin is a little wet and slippery, or by using massage oil.

Use your opposite hand to feel your breast, so your right hand to feel your left breast and vice a versa. Keep your fingers straight and together, use the fingertips with a firm, smooth touch.

You can start from the nipple and move outwards in a circular motion and also use a more vertical up and down approach. Be sure to cover the entire range of your breast from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen and from your armpit to your cleavage.

If you notice anything don’t panic — 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. For more information, you can visit http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam this post is based on their information or speak to your doctor or gynaecologist.