Breast self-examination as the name implies is the practice of checking the breast on a monthly basis to detect any abnormalities. It is quite common to experience breast tenderness one or two weeks before your period. At different times in your growing years, there are several factors that can cause changes in your breast such as:
- Increase in age
- Menstrual cycle
- Birth control pills.
It is still however very important to examine your breast monthly, you should note the following when carrying out a breast self-examination:
- It is normal to feel lumps before the menstrual period begins.
- It is normal to feel lumps during the period.
- Due to this, it is best to examine your breast after your periods.
Breast Self Examination
This should be done 7-10 days after monthly periods.
Using the tips of your index, middle and ring fingers, begin at the armpit and more up and down, feeling the entire surface of the breast as if you were following about 10 vertical parallel lines.
Examine the nipple (feeling the breast using flattened fingertips and circular movement, apply sufficient pressure
- Standing- lift your arm and feel the breast with the opposite hand.
- Lying down- rest your shoulder on a pillow or towel and put your hand under your head, then feel the breast with the opposite hand.
- In front of a mirror- stand in front of a mirror and inspect the breast carefully in each of the following position; arms at side, hands on the hips, arms raised, leaning forward.
Other things to look for:
Inverted nipples: A nipple that becomes inverted in a previously normal breast.
Skin changes: A rash on one breast, a bump or sore, skin that looks like orange peel.
Skin dimpling- A pulling of the skin that creates a retraction.
Vein Changes: increase in the size or number of veins you can see on the side of the breast that changes in shape of the breast.