My Breast My Health
How to examine your breasts
Breast examination can feel a little bit scary and intimidating. I hear so many concerns when I talk to my patients about breast examination; "what should I be looking out for?", "how do I know what to feel for?", "my breasts are so lumpy I don't know what I'm looking for". These are not uncommon feelings and concerns. However, breast examination isn't that complicated. The more often you do it, the more familiar you will become with how your normal breasts should feel like. And so, when there is a lump or new abnormality, then you should be able to recognise it.
Firstly, it is important to look/inspect your breasts. Do this in front of a mirror, with your arms raised and then on your hips.
Things to look out for include:
Then you should feel/palpate your breasts. You can do this anywhere, either in the shower/bath, or whilst lying down.
It is important to feel your breasts with the flat of your fingers, and not pinch or prod your breasts. If you do this, you may miss any lumps.
To make it easy, you should examine your breasts with the opposite hand.
So, if you are starting with your left breast, place your left arm behind your head, and examine the breast with your right hand. And then switch over.
Make sure you examine the whole of the breast, including your nipple area and your armpits. If you imagine that your breast is divided into 4 quadrants, then it may help you ensure that you don’t miss any part of your breast.
You should be feeling for any obvious lumps, thickening or anything that doesn’t feel right to you.
If you find anything that you are unsure about, then go to your doctor to have it checked out.
S1 Ep4: How to do a breast examination