Everyone knows the recommendation to check your breasts each month for lumps or abnormalities. It’s time to take it seriously! It could save your life.
Checking your breasts each month seems like checking too much. Can things change that fast? The answer is yes! In 2017, there will be over 252,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed just in the United States!
A staggering 40,000 women will die this year from breast cancer. While the number is dramatically reducing because of new advancements, early detection is key to survival. It is best to check a few days after your monthly menstrual cycle because your breasts are less likely to feel swollen or tender. Mark it on your calendar, so you don’t forget.
Steps to Check Your Breasts Each Month
1. Stand in front of a mirror in a bright room, such as the bathroom. Your breasts don’t have to be the same shape and size. Most women have a breast that is larger than the other. As you check each month, pay attention to any sores, dimples or discoloration that may not be normal.
2. Check your nipples. Are they sore, peeling or changing directions? You also should check for nipple discharge. Unless you are breastfeeding, there should be nothing expressed. Press your thumb and forefinger on your areola, surrounding your nipple. The, move your fingers outwards, watching for discharge.
3. Put your hands down towards your hips and press down firmly. Doing so tightens your chest muscles under your breasts. Turn from side to side, observing the outer portion of your breasts.
4. Lean over towards the mirror. As you do so, roll your shoulders and elbows forward, which will tighten your chest muscles. Doing so causes your breasts to fall forward. Check their shape and mentally compare to last month.
5. The next step is better done in the shower because slippery hands make it easier. You want to check for any lumps or thickening areas in your underarm area. Use the opposite hand to feel the sides of your breasts. So, put your left arm down towards your hips and use your right hand to check!
6. Make sure you don’t just check the undersides of your breasts. It’s important to look and feel above and below your collarbone as well.
7. The last step involves putting an arm behind your head. Then, spread out your breast tissue. It is very simple! Use the flat part of your fingers and gently press into your breasts, following an up and down pattern.
All in all, it isn’t a hard process to check your breasts each month. You might find a new abnormality that could save your life!