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how to do a self breast exam

Have you ever performed a breast exam on yourself? One of the core parts of self-care is looking after your general health and making sure that you’re okay. Breast health is a little talked-about issue, and yet it’s one that can affect a great many people in more ways than they may realize. For that very reason, it’s important that you’re aware of the facts and also that you do all that you can to protect yourself.

The stats speak for themselves. Around one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point during their lifespan, according to While there have been many advancements in treatments, it’s still important to raise awareness for this issue.

One of the simplest things that you can do is perform your own exams regularly and encourage the other women in your life to do the same. Here’s what you should know.  

Step 1: Look at your breasts in the mirror

The first thing that you have to do is take a look at your breasts to see whether they appear normal and healthy. Take off your top and bra and stand directly in front of the mirror for a minute or so. You should check that your breasts look around the same size and proportion that they usually do and that there is no obvious swelling.

It may be hard to know just what you’re looking for here so you should keep things as simple as possible. Look for any changes to your breasts. That could be a change in color, dimpling, redness, sore areas, or even rashes. Take a moment to check out the area.

Step 2: Raise your arms above your head

Next, you should raise both your arms directly above your head. As you do so, you should be looking for any changes in the way that your breasts look and, indeed, feel too. You should be able to see your breasts from a slightly different angle when you lift up your arms, which will allow you to check out whether there is anything here that you missed. Of course, you should check beneath your breasts as well to see if there are any changes.

Step 3: Watch out for fluids or discoloration

While you’re doing all of the above, there are a couple of things that you need to be on the lookout for. Fluids is one of them. In some cases, you might find that the nipple area starts to leak things, such as blood, discharge, and watery fluids. When this happens suddenly, it could be a bad sign, and so it’s important that you contact a medical professional as soon as you realize that there may be a problem.

Aside from that, you also need to be on the hunt for any discoloration of the breasts and nipple area. You should keep an eye out for any small color or tone changes that happen over time. Again, the moment that you notice something different, the safest thing that you can do is visit your doctor or speak to an expert. It may well be nothing to worry about, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Related: Do You Know Your Lemons? These Photos Are Helping Women Detect Breast Cancer

Step 4: Feel for any lumps while lying down

Next, head to the bed or sofa area and lie down flat on your back. You will need to feel to see whether there are any lumps or abnormalities that have developed. Take two fingers from your right have and use them to firmly inspect your left breast. You should use a circular motion to check out whether the breast feels healthy. Keep the fingers as flat as possible during this process so that you can feel well enough.

One of the most important things that you need to remember here is that you should cover the entirety of your breasts. You should start at the armpit area and make sure that you feel all the way across the chest. Cover every inch so that you don’t miss a thing. Of course, once you’ve inspected your left breast, you will want to do the same with your right one. Just follow the same process once again.

Step 5: Stand up and repeat the same action

Finally, you will need to stand up again and check your breasts just as you did when you were lying down. It’s crucial that you check the area from all different angles so that you cover all bases. Stand up – in front of the mirror or otherwise – and check over your breasts one last time. Again, you should be using the firm, circular motions to make sure that you are as thorough as you can be. If you do feel anything abnormal, you need to report it to your doctor as soon as possible.


If you don’t already make a habit of checking your breasts, it’s time to change your ways. Check your breasts regularly to make sure that you keep your breasts as healthy as they can be all of the time and meet with your doctor regularly for exams. If you notice any irregularities or lumps in your breasts, be sure to contact your doctor immediately. Remember to check as often as you can and be as thorough as you can too. After all, looking after your own health is one of the most important things you will ever do.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be medical advice and it is not meant to be a substitute for a professional’s opinion. Be sure to consult your doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts. Breast self exams are not a replacement for regular exams by your doctor.
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Published by

Charlotte Grainger

Charlotte Grainger is a freelance writer and digital journalist. Her main areas of interest are health, lifestyle, and relationships. When she’s not writing, she loves reading, gymming, and socializing.

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