Breast Self Exams Steps

Read on for step-by-step instructions of how to do a Breast Self Exam.

Step 1:

Stand in front of a mirror that is large enough for you to see your breasts clearly.

Check each breast for anything unusual. Check the skin for puckering, dimpling, or scaliness.

Step 2:

Check for any change in the shape or contour of your breasts. As you do the steps below, you should feel your chest muscles tighten.

Watching closely, clasp your hands behind your head and press your hands forward.

Step 3:

Next, press your hands firmly on your hips and bend slightly forward toward the mirror as you pull your shoulders and your elbows forward.

Step 4:

Raise one arm. Use your fingers of your other hand to check the breast and the surrounding area firmly, carefully, and thoroughly. Some women like to use lotion or powder to help their fingers glide easily over the skin. Other women do this step in the shower with soapy water. Feel for any unusual lump or mass under the skin.

Feel your breast by pressing your fingers in small, overlapping areas about the size of a dime.

To be sure you cover your whole breast, take your time and follow a definite pattern, like circles or lines.

Step 5:

It's important to repeat the last step while you are lying down. Lie flat on your back, with one arm over your head and a pillow or folded towel under your shoulder. This position flattens the breast and makes it easier to check.

With your arm over your head, check each breast and the area around it very carefully by pressing and moving in a repetitive pattern.

If you notice a lump or discharge at any time, contact your health care provider.

 © 1999 Michigan State University
Communication Technology Laboratory