Performing a breast self-examination (BSE) can be an important way to detect changes or lumps in the breast. Here are the steps for performing a BSE:
Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror. Look for any changes in size, shape, or color. Look for dimpling or puckering of the skin, or any changes in the nipple or areola. Check for any discharge or bleeding from the nipple.
Raise your arms above your head and look for the same changes as above.
Use your fingers to feel the breast tissue. You can do this in the shower, lying down, or standing up. Use the pads of your fingers to gently press and feel the breast tissue in a circular motion. Move in an up and down pattern, covering the entire breast area, including the armpit.
You should also check for lumps under the armpit, as there are lymph nodes in that area.
When performing a BSE, there are several things to look out for. These include:
Lumps or thickening in the breast tissue
Changes in the size or shape of the breast
Changes in the texture or color of the skin or nipple
Nipple discharge or bleeding
Pain or tenderness in the breast or nipple
It is important to note that some lumps may be benign, such as cysts or fibroadenomas. However, any new lump or change in the breast should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
Lymph nodes can be felt under the armpit and can be distinguished from breast tissue. Lymph nodes feel like small, round, movable bumps, while breast tissue feels more glandular and soft. Lymph nodes may become swollen or tender in response to infection or other conditions, so it is important to be familiar with what is normal for your body and to have any changes evaluated by a healthcare professional.