In addition to the screening mammogram, it is important to carry out regular self-examinations, as it is important to know your breasts well enough to be able to recognise abnormalities quickly. This way, you can detect possible tumors (benign or malignant) at an early stage.
The self-examination of the breasts, nipples and armpit consists of 2 steps: a visual inspection in front of a mirror and a self-breast examination.
In front of a mirror, examine the appearance of your breasts in the following positions, paying attention to the skin of the breast, the nipple and the shape of the breast:
- Arms at your side;
- Arms raised;
- Leaning forward.
With three fingers, palpate all areas of the breast with light pressure and small circles. Do not forget to palpate the area between the breast and the armpit, and the nipple.
It is recommended that you examine your breasts once a month, preferably after menstruation, as the breasts will be more supple. During menopause, it does not matter when you do the self-examination.
- Examine your breasts carefully, is the skin red, are there lumps or dimples, is the skin bumpy (orange peel), is the breast warm and inflamed?
- Do you have pain in your breasts or a wound that is not healing well?
- Is there a change in the size or shape of the breast?
- Also check that your armpit is not thickening.
- Pay attention to the nipple, is it retracted and what color, is there fluid coming from the nipple.
If you notice any visible or palpable changes, you should contact your doctor or gynecologist.