A breast self-exam contributes to breast self-awareness
Our Fort Worth and Grapevine obgyns recommend a breast self-exam as part of breast self-awareness. Breast self-awareness involves learning and knowing what is normal for your breasts so that you can report any changes in the look or feel of your breasts to our physicians. You also need to understand your risk factors, receive mammograms and clinical breast exams, and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.
A breast self-exam helps women become familiar with their breasts
When you perform a breast self-exam, you learn what your breasts normally look and feel like. Examining your breasts on a regular basis allows you to detect changes that may need to be examined by a doctor. A variety of factors can cause changes in the look and feel of your breasts, including breast cancer. If you notice any of the following changes during a breast self-exam, you should contact our Fort Worth and Grapevine obgyns:
- Thickening, lumps or hard knots in your breast or under the arms
- Breast redness, warmth, swelling or darkness
- Changes in breast skin, such as puckering or dimpling
- Inverted areas on the breast or nipple
- Changes in the nipple, including a scaly, itchy rash or sudden nipple discharge
- Newly painful areas on the breast or nipple
How to perform a breast self-exam
Our physicians are happy to discuss the breast self-exam with you during your annual well woman exam. Follow these steps at home when practicing breast self-awareness:
- Begin with a visual examination in front of a mirror. Start your examination by undressing from the waist up and performing a visual inspection of the breasts in a mirror. During this visual check, changes to look for include dimpling, puckering, changes in size or shape, and inverted nipples. Squeeze your nipples to check for unexplained discharge.
- Lying down helps to spread breast tissue out, making it easier to feel changes. As part of the breast self-exam, you should lie on a flat surface with a pillow under your right side. With your right arm behind your head, examine your right breast with your left hand. Repeat this on the left side, using the pads of your fingers to move in small circles around the entire breast.
- Standing or sitting in the shower or bathtub is also a good time to practice breast self-awareness. For this part of the breast self-exam, place your right arm above your head and examine the right breast with your lathered fingertips. Note any changes you may feel as your fingers glide around the breast. Repeat on the left side.
Breast cancer prevention is a team effort
Performing regular breast self-exams allows you to be an important part of cancer prevention. Partnering with our Fort Worth and Grapevine obgyns, scheduling annual well woman visits, screenings and examinations provide the best cancer prevention and detection possible. Contact us to schedule an appointment.