Performing a monthly self exam to check for breast cancer may save your life. These exams are especially important for those with a family history of breast cancer. While a self exam may seem like an inconvenience, it is actually very simple to do and shouldn't take more than a few minutes of your time. Learning how to check for breast cancer could save your life as almost 70 percent of all breast cancers are discovered via a simple self exam.
Things You Will NeedA few minutes
Gently massage your breasts while you are in the shower to look for lumps or anything out of the ordinary. Keep your fingers flat and gently press on your breast, moving your fingers slowly to examine the entire breast. Performing this exam regularly will help you become familiar with your breasts so that you can identify a new lump or abnormality quickly.
Stand in front of a mirror and raise your hands above your head while watching your breasts. Lower your arms to your side and continue to inspect your breasts. Look for swelling or changes in your skin or nipples. Swelling does not necessarily indicate breast cancer but it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to changes in your breasts.
Lay down on your back and raise your right arm above your head. Rub your right breast gently in a circular motion, moving your fingers to inspect the entire breast. Pay attention to any lumps or anything that seems unusual. Switch arms and repeat the exam on your left breast to check for breast cancer.
The most important thing to do when learning how to check for breast cancer is to become familiar with your body so that you can identify changes quickly for early diagnoses should you develop breast cancer. If you do find a lump, try not to panic but schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that eight out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. The foundation also reports that early detection through self exams can boost the survival rate of breast cancer to 98 percent, so check for breast cancer monthly and don't hesitate to contact your doctor if you find anything unusual.