How-to: give yourself a breast check
Each year, around 11,000 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Early detection is a vital step in successfully treating it, so it’s vital to have a regular breast check and seek medical advice if you notice any changes in your breasts or find a breast lump. Of course, the only way to notice if your breasts have changed is to become familiar with them. Try this simple three-step check in the shower and get to know your breasts, so you can be alert to any changes.
Lift your left arm up so that your left hand is resting behind your head.
Use the pads on the fingertips of your right hand to make small, circular movements over the surface of the breast, starting lightly at first to examine for surface changes, then pressing firmly to feel for deeper abnormalities. Don’t forget to examine the area above your breast – from the collarbone down and out to the armpit.
Switch arms and repeat on the opposite breast.
Things to remember:
It’s crucial to conduct your breast check at the same time each month, as your breasts can change throughout the month depending on your hormone cycle. If you still have a period, you should aim to do your breast check 2-3 days after the final day of your period. If you no longer have a period, simply choose a specific day to do your check each month.
Remember that while self-examination is an effective way for you to become more familiar with your breasts and be aware of changes, it is not a substitute for mammograms. You should still consult your doctor for regular breast screening.
To make a donation to the Breast Cancer Foundation, go to: www.nbcf.org.au