At Southeast Radiation Oncology Center, we provide breast cancer
radiation therapy using the most advanced treatment technology. Many of the patients we serve have been diagnosed with breast cancer, which affects
more than 252,000 women every year in the United States. But with early detection, patients can often achieve the best possible outcomes.
While mammograms are the most common screening tests for breast cancer, it is possible to detect breast cancer symptoms yourself by performing regular breast self-exams. Adult women of all ages are strongly encouraged to perform breast self-exams monthly. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, we wanted to discuss the importance of at-home breast exams, and have outlined the key steps below.
While standing up straight in front of a mirror with your hands on your hips, examine your breasts thoroughly to check for unusual size, shape, and color.
You should also check for any unusual swelling or distortion. It is important to note that many women have uneven breast sizes, which is completely
normal. If you notice any of the following, contact your doctor right away for an examination:
- Lumps, dimpling, puckering or bulging of the skin
- An inverted nipple or a nipple that appears to have changed location
- Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling
If you’re unsure if you’re displaying symptoms or if they are normal irregularities, schedule an examination with your doctor.
Raise your arms up over your head and look for any abnormalities in areas you may have missed initially.
Look closely for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples. Nipple discharge can be blood or fluid that looks watery, milky, or yellowish colored.
Lie down on your back and use your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Using the ends of your fingers, press gently and firmly using a circular motion. Do this for the entire breast, from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen and from your underarm to your cleavage. Many women find it easiest to take an up-and-down approach when moving their hand in large circles over the breasts.
Stand up or sit in a chair so you can easily feel your breasts. Raise your right arm and feel your right breast with your left hand, using the same hand movements described in step 4. Then raise your left arm and feel your left breast with your right hand. It is easier to detect changes in your breasts when your skin is wet and slippery, so you can do this step while in the shower.
Choose the Same Time of the Month
Your body’s normal hormonal fluctuations affect breast tissue. That’s why it’s important to choose the same time each month to examine your breasts. This way, you can more easily distinguish between a normal change and something that feels different.
Questions? Contact Us!
While monthly breast self-exams are not meant to replace breast cancer screenings, they can help you know what’s normal for you, so you can report any changes to your doctor. If you would like some information about us or the breast cancer treatment we provide, please contact us as we’re always here to help. You can also visit our Breast Cancer page for more information.