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Breast Self-Exams

From the Breast Health Articles List

Breast Self-ExamsHow do I do a breast exam on myself?

Following a hysterectomy, it can be a bit more difficult to know when to do your monthly self breast exams. If you can still track your cycle, you should continue to do your exam 3-5 days after your period would have started. If you can’t track your cycle, talk to your physician about the best time for you. If you are in menopause, you can choose which day to do your exam, but it is recommended that you do it the same day each month.

Monthly breast exams need to include both visual and manual exams. You should do the exams both lying and standing, and you should follow the same routine each month. In addition to the breasts, you should also check the armpit area for lumps and changes in appearance.

In a mirror, stand with your hands at your side, and then raise your arms over your head. You should observe the appearance of your breasts to see if they are the usual size, shape, and color. Look for puckering, dimpling, redness, rash, and/or swelling. You should also look for changes or inversion of your nipples. Squeeze gently to see if there is any nipple discharge.

Lying down, you’ll need to examine both breasts with your fingertips. You should also cover the area from your armpit to your cleavage and from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen. You can use a circular motion, beginning at the nipple and circling the breasts outward; another option is to check in a vertical motion, moving from one side to the other; or you can choose to start at the outer edges of the breast and move toward the nipple. Once you have examined both breasts lying down, you should stand or sit and repeat the physical exam.

If you notice any changes, lumps, or discharges, you should contact your physician immediately. You should also contact your physician if you notice any pain that does not resolve.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

05-27-2014 - 01:45 PM


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