How to Do a Self Breast Exam

contributed by Catie Gosselin

Lying down 
1. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right hand under your head. 

2. Check the breast tissue using a circular, rubbing motion without lifting the fingers. 

3. Vary pressure of your fingers to examine the different layers of breast tissue. 
light pressure : enough to move the skin, but not the underlying layers 
medium pressure : checks the mid-layer of tissue 
deep pressure : press almost to the ribs, just short of causing discomfort 

4. Use one of the three techniques for your examination (remember to include the underarm tissue in your exam).
lines : start in the underarm area and lower your fingers until they are below the breast, move back upwards toward the middle. Use this up and down movement over the entire breast area. 
circles : start at the outer edge of your breast, moving your fingers slowly around the breast in a circle. Examine the breast in smaller and smaller circles, moving toward the nipple. 
wedges : at the outer edge of the breast, move your fingers toward the nipple and back to the edge in a V shape motion. Perform the same movement around the entire breast. 

Standing in the Shower (follow the same techniques outlined above) 

Mirror Exam 

1. With arms lowered to your sides, look for any dimpling, puckering or other abnormality. 
2. Look for any discharge from both nipples.

Contributed by : Catie Gosselin of; a supporting, empowering community for all women. Catie is the homeschooling mother of two, a wife of 12 years, and she lives in Massachusetts.