HEALTH & LIFESTYLE
Why It's So Important To Do Breast Self-Exams And How To
Do Them
By TESSA A. ADAMS
Breast cancer isn’t preventable, but according to the American Cancer Society, the earlier breast cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat successfully. Breast cancer is startlingly common, but a breast self-exam is a no-cost tool that can be used at any time, no matter your age, and can be the first indication that something is wrong.
To perform a self-exam, experts at the National Breast Cancer Foundation recommend using your hands first: while standing, lift the arm on the same side as the breast you’d like to inspect. Press down firmly with the pads of your three middle fingers on your opposite hand, feeling for any changes, lumps, or hard areas before repeating on the other side.
Next, while lying down on your back with one arm above your head, use the opposite hand to feel around with pressure to detect any abnormalities in your breast. Do the same on the other side, then follow up with a visual examination by standing in front of your mirror, flexing your chest muscles, and looking for any changes including dimpling or puckering on your breasts.
If you notice any changes, make an appointment with your doctor; however, experts warn against panicking if you find an irregularity because eight out of ten lumps found in breasts are noncancerous. Still, routine breast self-exams are an important part of managing your health and setting yourself up for success against breast cancer.