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How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam

It’s important to become familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel. This may help you an identifying problems or lumps within your breasts. However, breast self-exam is not a recommended screening tool for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly screening for all women ages 40 and older. Here is a step-by-step approach for breast self-exam.

  1. Examine your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your hands on your hips. Look for any discoloration, unusual size or distortion in your breasts. If you see any problems, contact your doctor.
  2. Raise your arms above your head and look for any changes in your breasts again.
  3. Next feel your breasts while lying on your back. Use a firm, smooth touch as you feel around your entire breast for lumps. Move in a circular motion and keep your fingers flat.
  4. Perform the same technique while standing up with your arm lifted above your head.