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How to Perform a Breast Self Exam

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How to Perform a Breast Self Exam

Checking Your Breasts For Causes For Concern

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is the second most common cancer affecting American women. When it comes to breast cancer, early diagnosis is key for effective treatment, making it imperative that you become more familiar with what is and isn’t normal for your body. Along with keeping your annual well-woman exams and following your doctor’s advice on when to get a mammogram, checking your breasts for abnormalities at home between visits also can help with early detection.

How to Do a Self-Exam

With your three middle fingers together, use the pads of your fingers to massage your breast tissue to feel for changes. Apply enough pressure to be thorough, but this should not be painful. Move your fingers in a circular motion as you scan your breast in a grid pattern, moving from one side to the other and from top to bottom. Also, be sure to check under your arms, in the armpit area.

What You’re Feeling For

When checking your breast tissue, be sure to keep an eye out for the following changes:

  • New lumps, bumps or knots
  • Pain affecting the nipple
  • Pain affecting the breast
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • Flaking or irritated skin near the nipple
  • Dimpled skin
  • Changes in size or shape of the breast
  • Changes in the color of the nipple

How Often to Do a Breast Self-Exam

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, women of all ages should perform self-exams at least once a month to help detect causes for concern as quickly as possible. Be sure to mark your calendar or set a reminder on your phone to help you stay on top of your breast health and wellness.

Primary and Specialty Care in Ohio

Southwest General Medical Group, Inc. includes both primary care and specialty care physicians who are committed to providing patients with high-quality medical care. Our team of board-certified specialists and skilled physicians work to raise the bar for excellence in health care service for our community. To learn more about our primary and specialty care services or to schedule an appointment, visit our website.