LIFESTYLE 5 years ago

How to do a Self-Breast Exam

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it’s actually something really close to my heart.

If you don’t know, last year my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and while she’s cancer-free now, it made me rethink a lot about my family and my health. Taking care of myself… and truly starting from the inside out is something that I’ve really been working on.

While I still believe that a self-care day and face mask can do wonders for your mental health, your physical health cannot be overlooked! From scheduling a dentist appointment to making sure you get a pap smear and your bloodwork done… being proactive about taking care of your body will only benefit you in the long run. With that being said, another very important and oftentimes overlooked step to taking care of yourself is to do a self-breast exam.

Early detection is the key. Doing a self-breast exam, especially if you’re not at the age of getting regular mammograms, is so important! Knowing what your breasts look and feel normal is the best way to detect any changes that might need to be looked at by a Doctor.

Here are my tips to make sure you check in with your girls:

1. Look

To start a self-breast exam… you’ve got to look! Sit or stand in front of a mirror topless and inspect your breasts. Keep an eye out for any dimpling or changes in size or symmetry. Then, do the same with your hands on your hips and with both arms raised over your head with your hands pressed together.

2. Touch

Then, you’ve got to touch. It’s best to do this laying down or in the shower. Use the pads, not the tips, of your fingers to feel around your breasts with varying pressures. Using light pressure, you can feel the breast tissue closest to your skin, then with medium pressure, you can feel a little deeper, and with firm pressure, you can feel the tissue closest to your chest and ribs.

(PS: For a more in-depth step-by-step guide to a self-breast exam, I found this article from the Mayo Clinic very informative!)

3. Be Consistent

Make sure to examine your breasts once a month! The important thing is to be able to learn and be familiar with what your breasts normally look and feel like so that if do you notice something out of the ordinary, you’ll know!

4. If Something is Off, Tell Your Doc!

If something does feel off, you should tell your doctor! Things to look out for are: a hard lump or knot near your underarm, dimples or puckers on the skin, an inverted nipple (if it goes in instead of sticking out) any redness, swelling, itching or rashes.

Remember, I’m not a health care professional, so be sure to do your research and/or ask your doctor how to perform a self-breast exam! So be sure to check in with your girls! And tell your girls to check in with THEIR girls!

For more about my mom’s story, click here or watch the video below!

Photography by Karla Ticas
Location: Nomad DTLA