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Check Your Breasts

Check Your Breasts

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Starting in her 20s, every woman should get a clinical breast exam every three years, and, typically around age 40, every woman should begin receiving an annual mammogram. These tests are crucial in detecting the earliest stages of breast cancer. However, it’s also important that women get to know their breasts, so that they’re able to spot any changes that might be occurring in between exams. Take 10 minutes every month after the end of your period to give yourself a breast exam:

  1. Remove your clothes above the waist and lie down.
  2. Use the pads of your three middle fingers from your left hand (not the finger tips) to check your right breast.
  3. Move your fingers slowly in a small circular motion.
  4. Use three different pressures: light to feel the surface tissue, medium to feel right under the surface tissue, and firm to feel the deep tissue near your breast bone and ribs.
  5. Check your entire breast from armpit to bra line — then repeat on your left breast.

Remember, most breast tissue has some thick tissue or benign lumps. However, if you notice anything that feels like a pea or a bean, or anything that seems unusual, talk to your doctor.

By Brittany Doohan. Published February 26, 2013. Brittany Doohan is a health and lifestyle writer living in San Francisco.