Carrying out regular self-checks can be a topic a lot of ladies don’t always want to talk about. We completely understand how a lot of you may feel, in which we’ve decided to make it that little bit easier by putting together a dedicated self-check guide. Just follow the below steps:
Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror. Keep your shoulders straight and put your hands on your hips. Firstly take a good look at your breasts, checking for an unusual size, shape, color or swelling. Look out for any dimples or changes to the skin that may have not always been there. If you spot any of the above, it’s best to have a chat with your doctor. The appearance of your nipple is also worth examining at this stage, as a nipple that has changed position, appears red or sore, or is surrounded by any rashes or swelling always needs professional advice.
Now, raise your arms up high and look for all the changes mentioned above.
Next, check for any signs of fluid around your nipples. Touch them too just in case there is any clear fluid that might be easy to miss. Look out for any liquid discharge which can be watery, milky, yellow tinted or mixed with blood. If any of the mentioned fluids are present, seek medical advice.
Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast, and then switch to use your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm touch using circular motions. Continue to feel around the entire breast area, from top to bottom, side to side, from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your decolletage. With this step, it’s important you find a pattern you feel comfortable with, so as long as you remember to start at the nipple, moving in larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast, you should be covering the area efficiently.
You can also move your fingers up and down in rows, feeling all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts. Rememer to use a lighter pressure for the skin and tissue just beneath, then increase to medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts, and firmer pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your rib-cage.
The last step includes feeling your breasts while you are standing up or sitting down. It really is important to do a thorough check, and if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it properly! Check both breasts using the same hand movements as described in step 4, but in these new positions
Tip: A lot of women find it easier to perform the check whilst their skin is wet, so look to carry out breast checks once you have got out of the shower.
For more information on how Look Good Feel Better help support women with Breast Cancer, head over to their website here.