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  • Writer's pictureDMS - Digital Mammography & Women's Imaging

Women's Imaging: How To Do a Self Breast Exam Step by Step

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Step 1:

Self breast exam - step 1

Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders

straight and your arms on your hips.

Look for:

  • Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color.

  • Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling.

Tell your doctor if you see:

  • Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin.

  • A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out).

  • Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling.

Step 2:

Self breast exam - step 2

Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

Step 3:

Self breast exam - step 3

While you’re at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid, or blood).

Step 4:

Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.

Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

Self breast exam - step 4

Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.

Step 5:

Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to

do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.

Feel free to download these steps here.

Digital Mammography Specialists | 3242 Avalon Blvd., Conyers, GA 30013 | Phone: 678-904-6823 |


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