Self-Breast Exam Tips

Self-Breast Exam Tips

You may have heard there are many advantages of performing breast self-examinations. Women sometimes detect lumps that prompt their physicians to send them for mammograms, which can uncover signs of breast cancer.

You should also perform breast self-exams for other reasons. This practice helps you become familiar with your breasts so you can report any changes in them to your physician. Most changes are benign, but occasionally there is a more serious reason for them.

If you have never self-examined your breasts, you may be unsure how to begin. Follow these tips to give yourself an effective exam.

Tips for Breast Self-Exams

Here are a few ways you can learn to do your examinations quickly, thoroughly and effectively:

Women with disabilities that make it difficult to do any of this should ask their doctor for tips on how to proceed.

What Are Normal Lumps in the Breast?

All breasts have lumps. You will become familiar with these as you perform your exams regularly. Most lumps are normal and do not require a trip to the doctor. Abnormalities in the breast may include very hard lumps near your underarm, and you should inform your physician immediately.

Other changes you should notify your doctor about include:

When to Start Self-Breast Exams

Doctors generally recommend that women begin performing self-breast exams in their early 20s. Teenage girls’ breasts are still growing, and they change a lot during this process. It’s also extremely rare for a girl to develop breast cancer. For those reasons, physicians say it is unnecessary to perform self-exams until you get older and your body has finished going through changes.

Still not sure how to perform a self-breast exam or want some extra guidance? Hamilton Health offers patient-centered health care at our state-of-the-art facility. Make an appointment with us today to discuss your breast health.