Breast Self-Examination Technique
Breast self-examination is a simple and useful tool to help screen for breast diseases (such as cancer) in addition to a regular physical examination by your doctor with a mammogram and/or ultrasound. This is because approximately 1 in 19 women may get breast cancer.
- Self-examination is recommended on a monthly basis once the breast is developed at adulthood
- Choose the same date and same time (ideally a few days after your period has ended so that the breast is not swollen or tender to touch)
- Get to know the feel of your breast so that you can recognise any changes early
- A mammogram is recommended every 2 years from the age of 50 years to 74 years but may be indicated earlier at 40 if you have risk factors such as a family history or BRCA gene positive
Stand in front of a mirror with your shoulders straight and arms at your side. Make sure the breast size and shape are similar. Look for any unusual superficial skin changes like dimple, pucker, skin thickening, redness or scaly rash. Make sure the nipple has no pain, redness, scales, itching, thickening, nipple inversion or discharge. Raise your arms and look for similar changes.
While lying down or sitting comfortably, use your right hand to feel your left breast and vice versa. Use from a smooth touch with the first 3 fingers of your hand in a circular manner to feel for abnormal changes. Look for lumps (especially new or hard irregular ones) in breast and armpits.
Visit your doctor for a yearly breast examination, a mammogram and/or ultrasound every 2 years.
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