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How To Do a Breast Self-Exam

A breast self-exam could help you identify any changes or abnormalities that you may need to discuss with us. Doing regular self-exams will help you learn how your breasts feel, so you can potentially notice any changes (like lumps, nodules, or thickness) to your breasts early on.


  1. Lie on your back and put your right hand behind your head.

  2. Use your left hand to press down on your right breast. Use the pads of your three middle fingers to press down

  3. Apply light, medium and firm pressure to check all layers of your breast tissue.

  4. Sit up and press into your right armpit to check for lumps.

  5. Squeeze your nipples to check for any discharge.

  6. Lie back down, switch arms and repeat for the left side.

  7. Stand up and visually inspect your breasts in the mirror with your arms at your side to notice any signs of swelling, lumps, or discoloration

When to Do a Breast Self-Exam

It's common for your breasts to change throughout the month due to hormonal shifts during your menstrual cycle. For example, you may notice that your breasts feel tender, firmer, and denser just before your period begins.


Generally, you may opt to perform a breast self-exam once a month. To get consistent results from a breast self-exam, it’s best to check your breast tissue about three to five days after the start of your period. If you don’t have regular periods or if you’ve already gone through menopause, it's best to conduct a breast self-exam at the same time each month.

What You Should Look For

When you do a breast self-exam, you should manually and visually inspect for anything that appears unusual, such as:

  • Nodules, cysts, lumps, and bumps

  • Changes in the texture, size, or shape of your breasts

  • Nipple discharge

  • Dimpling or puckering (small ripples in your breasts)

  • Indents on your breasts

  • Areas of hard or thickened skin

  • Painful or sore spots

It's important to remember that most breast changes, including lumps, aren’t a sign of cancer. There are many reasons that breasts can feel different at different times, including hormonal changes just before your period, pregnancy, menopause, birth control medications, and the natural aging process.


When to Call Us

It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns you have about your breasts, including:

  • Any changes you notice, such as new bumps or lumps

  • Pain and tenderness that aren’t period-related

  • Redness, swelling, or heat in or around your breast

  • A lump near your collarbone or in your armpit

  • Discharge, blood, or pus coming from your nipples


We love this video that teaches what to look for during your self-exam:



If you have any concerns about changes in your breast, please don't wait! Contact us! Make an appointment or walk right in. Our all-female staff is here to help keep you healthy. 251-974-2273



Source: https://www.health.com/breast-self-exam-7564475

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