Tuesday 12 December 2017

Still not sure how to check yourself? A 6-step self-breast examination guide

Make sure you are checking yourself the right way.

Whether you have never done it before or it has been a long time since your last one, make sure to do a self-breast exam.

One in nine women here in Ireland will be diagnosed with breast cancer before their 75th Birthday and an average of 680 people die each year from breast cancer.

Thanks to improvements in treatment and increased awareness, mortality rates as a result of breast cancer have decreased by 2% year on year since 1994.

Do your part in the fight against breast cancer by performing a check on your breasts today with this step by step guide.

Breast Cancer Ireland recommends that all women over the age of 20 should be checking their breasts once a month. It is advised to perform a short self-breast examination a week after your period finishes.

This ensures that you are familiar with your breasts and understand what is normal for you so you will notice any changes or abnormalities.

This could include changes to the skin, nipples or asymmetry, meaning a noticeable difference between each breast.

Breast Cancer Ireland have a free to download app called Breast Aware which includes a video tutorial on how to perform a self-breast exam including the signs and symptoms to look out for. It also provides you with a discreet monthly reminder.

Visual check

The first step when performing your self-breast exam is to inspect the appearance of your breasts.

Standing in front of a mirror, you should first look at your breasts from the front and side with your arms by your side.

With your hands on your hips, push your chest inwards and look at your breasts in all directions.

Then, put your hands behind you head and check your breasts from the front and side.

Finally, lean forwards and again, check in all directions.

Self-breast exam

Once you have finished your visual check, follow these steps to complete your exam:

1. Use your right hand to check your left breast: using the pads of your first three fingers, start at your left breast bone.

2. Move your fingers in a gentle circular motion, pressing firmly down on the breast tissue.

3. Move down and up in a line to ensure you don’t miss any parts of the breast.

4. Make sure to check right up into the armpit for lumps.

5. Finally, squeeze your nipple gently to check for discharge.

6. Then repeat these steps on the other breast by using your left hand to check your right breast.

If you notice anything different about your breasts, contact your GP for advice.

Click here for more information and to download the BreastAware app.


Sponsored by: Breast Cancer Ireland

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