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    How to Check Yourself for Breast Cancer

    Once a month from age 20 (At this early age, any small lumps are probably just normal breast glands and ducts, so it is easier to tell if any new lumps appear.

    Check your breasts a few days after your period when your breasts aren't so sore. If you don't have periods or if they come at varying times, check your breasts at the same time every month.

    How do I check for lumps?
    Start by standing in front of a mirror. Look at your breasts with your arms at your side, with your arms raised behind your head, and with your arms on your hips and your chest muscles flexed.

    check yourself for breast cancer

    Next, lie down with a pillow under your left shoulder. Put your left hand behind your head and feel your left breast with the pads of the 3 middle fingers on your right hand. Start at the outer edge and work around your breast in circles, getting closer to your nipple with each circle. After you've finished checking your breast, squeeze your nipple gently and look for discharge (fluid coming out of the nipple).

    how to check yourself for breast cancer

    Do the same thing to your right breast with a pillow under your right shoulder.

    breast cancer checkup

    Be sure to include the area up to your collarbone and out to your armpit. You have lymph nodes in this area. Cancer can spread to lymph node tissue.

    check for cancer in the breast

    Changes to look for in your breasts

    • Any new lump (which may or may not be painful or tender)
    • Unusual thickening of your breasts
    • Sticky or bloody discharge from your nipples
    • Any changes in the skin of your nipples or breasts, such as puckering or dimpling
    • An unusual increase in the size of one breast
    • One breast unusually lower than the other.

    American Academy of Family Physicians

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