I’ve just added several breast self-examination video links to the research section. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
There are two types of breast exams that are best done monthly so that you become familiar with your breasts and can recognize any changes. The first is a visual exam of the breast which includes looking at your breasts a. with your hands on your hips, b. with your hands above your head, c. with your hands behind your head, d. with your hands in front of your head, palms together and e. with your upper torso bent forward and hanging. With the visual exam, you are watchful for any changes to the breasts including dimpling, puckering, bulging, irregularities or changes in size. Also look for any changes to the nipples.
The second type of breast exam is a palpation exam of which there are three different techniques: Spiral (move the 3 middle fingers from the outside of the breast toward the nipple in a circular motion), clockwise (move the 3 middle fingers toward the nipple then back out again through each of the time zones) or zig zag (move the 3 middle fingers from the underarm area from above the breast to below the breast moving slowly up and down until the whole breast has been examined). Choose the method that feels the most comfortable for you.
Regardless of the method that you choose, your objectives are to 1. Examine the entire breast; 2. Observe any abnormal changes; 3. Check under the arm and above the breast areas too. It is important to do it the same way every single time and create a breast map (I’ll be adding a pdf of a breast map for you to use) so that you can recognize when there are any changes.
Click here for a Breast Map you can use to keep track of your breast topography each month.