Are you doing a monthly self breast exam? Many women neglect to do this simple and easy procedure, yet it takes only a few minutes to examine your breasts, and it could save your life. Breast self examination (BSE) is something that all women should do on a monthly basis three or four days after the end of a menstrual period. At menopause, choose a specific date, such as the first of the month, and perform a BSE on that day each month.
1. Stand in front of a mirror with your hands on your hips and look at your breasts. Slowly turn from side to side and look for any changes in shape and for rashes or puckers in the skin.
2. Raise your arms over your head and continue looking in the mirror for changes. Put your hands behind your head and look at your breasts and underarm area.
3. Put your palms together, squeeze, and lower your hands to your nose. Again, look for any changes.
4. Feel your breasts with your fingers. Put your fingers together and keep your hand flat (not cupped). Use the pads of your fingers, opposite hand for each breast, and start below the collarbone. Cover the entire breast area using a circular or grid-like pattern, and then do the underarm area. Keep constant contact and pressure during your self breast exam.
5. Lie down on your back on a firm surface. Put one hand behind your head and use the opposite hand to check your breast as above.
If you notice any changes in the look or feel of your breasts, see your doctor. Most of the time changes that women find do not indicate cancer, but it is important to have it checked out in order to be sure.