Breast self-examination is a useful screening tool, particularly in women who have a family history of breast cancer. If performed appropriately and regularly it can help in early detection of some types of breast cancers. The method involves trying to feel breasts for possible distortions or swelling.
The steps involved in self-exam are as follows:
1. Stand in front of a mirror with top exposed.
2. Place hands on hips.
Look for signs of dimpling, swelling, soreness or redness in all parts of your breasts in the mirror.
3. Repeat with arms raised above your head.
4. While still standing, palpate your breasts with your fingers, feeling for lumps. Try to use a larger area of your fingers rather than prodding. Feel both for the area just beneath the skin and for the tissue deeper within.
5.Go over the entire breast while examining – a useful method is to divide the breast into quadrants and go through each quadrant carefully. Also examine the "axillary tail" of each breast that points towards the axilla (armpit).
Repeat palpation while lying down.
6.Check the nipples and the area just beneath them. Gently squeeze each nipple to check for any discharge .