breast self exam

Breast Self-Awareness: Do you know your breasts?

Understanding Your Breasts

Your breasts are more than just physical attributes; they are complex structures and each breast is unique, with its own size, shape, and texture.

Understanding what's normal for your breasts is the first step towards breast self-awareness. By becoming familiar with their appearance and feel, you can be able to detect any changes that may occur.


Why is Breast Self-Awareness Important?

Breast self-awareness goes beyond the act of performing self-exams; it encompasses a mindset of proactive health management. By regularly assessing our breasts, we take an active role in monitoring our health and well-being.

Early detection of abnormalities, such as lumps or changes in texture, can lead to timely intervention and improved treatment outcomes. In essence, breast self-awareness is crucial in the fight against breast cancer and other breast-related conditions.


How Do You Perform A Breast Self-Exam?

breast self exam

Conducting a breast self-exam is a simple yet vital practice that you should incorporate into your routine. Here's a step-by-step guide:

 1. Stand in front of a mirror with your arms at your sides. Observe the shape, size, and contour of your breasts. Look for any changes in skin texture, dimpling, or nipple appearance.

 2. Raise your arms overhead and examine your breasts again. Note any asymmetry or changes in appearance.

3. Lie down on a flat surface with a pillow under your right shoulder. Using your left hand, gently palpate your right breast in a circular motion, covering the entire breast and armpit area. Apply varying pressure to feel different layers of tissue.

4. Repeat the process for your left breast, using your right hand.

5. Lastly, gently squeeze each nipple to check for any discharge or abnormalities.


Performing a breast self-exam monthly, preferably a few days after your menstrual cycle, can help you establish a baseline and detect any changes promptly.


What Should You Look Out For?

During your self-exams, be mindful of the following signs and symptoms:

1. New lumps or masses.

2. Changes in breast size or shape.

3. Skin changes, such as redness, swelling, or puckering.

4. Nipple discharge, inversion, or changes in appearance.

5. Persistent pain or discomfort.

 If you notice any of these changes, don't hesitate to consult your healthcare provider for further evaluation and guidance.


In addition to regular self-exams, consider taking on the following practices to promote your breast health:

1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet.

2. Limit alcohol consumption and avoid smoking.

3. Schedule regular clinical breast exams and mammograms as recommended by your healthcare provider.

4. Stay informed about breast health and advocate for yourself in medical settings.

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