It doesn’t matter if you’re below the age of 40 or don’t have a family history of breast cancer (we bust those myths here), you should be doing a breast self-examination every month, and a clinical checkup every year as part of your annual physical.
“When should I do my monthly self-exam?”
According to WebMD, the most accurate time to check your breasts is a week to 10 days after the start of your period – when your breasts aren’t already tender or swollen.
“Where should I do it?”
You can either examine your breasts while standing in front of the mirror, in the shower or when lying down in bed – the Singapore Cancer Society mentions that this is the best self-examination method.
“How do I do a breast self-check?”
In front of the mirror:
- Put your hands on your hips and see if there are any changes in your breast shape, skin texture or nipple.
- Lift your arms above your head to look for skin dimples or any other abnormalities under your breasts.
In the shower or bed:
- Using your 3 middle fingers, feel your breasts in a circular motion from the outer area towards the nipple.
- Gently squeeze your nipple to see if there is any discharge.
- Slowly push down on your breast from your armpit to your cleavage to check for any lumps.
“What am I looking for?”
- Breast shape – hard lumps, bumps, dimples, veins, a difference in size.
- Skin texture – redness, sores, roughness.
- Nipple – a sunken appearance, crust, bloody discharge.
“When do I go for a clinical exam?”
If you detect any of the above changes, you should consult your doctor right away. Although most lumps or changes aren’t cancerous, it is still important to take the precaution of having them checked as soon as possible. You can also talk to your doctor if you have any concerns and ask about doing a breast cancer screening.