It doesn’t have to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month for you to take time to form crucial habits for your health. At home breast examinations are easy to do but often forgotten. So make a recurring monthly appointment in your calendar or set an alarm on your phone until it becomes second nature. Follow these 5 simple steps for a self-administered breast check and keep up-to-date with the wellbeing of your body.
STEP 1: Stop, look & power pose.
Stand in front of a mirror and make a power pose. That’s hands on your hips and straight shoulders. Don’t be shy! Here’s what you are looking for during a breast check – your normal. Do your breasts look their typical colour and size? Look to see if there is any new swelling or new unevenness in shape.
STEP 2: Hands up!
Lift your arms above your head and repeat step one. If you spot changes when performing these first two steps of your breast check — including skin that is dimpling, puckering or bulging — make an appointment to see your GP. Same goes for if you feel soreness or have any new redness or rashes appear on your breasts. And of course, it might seen intuitive, but if you see an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out) or one that has moved – bring it to the attention of your GP as soon as possible.
STEP 3: Halftime stretch.
This is the last step to take whilst standing in front of a mirror. Take a good gander for any signs of new or dried fluid. If there looks to be any liquid leaking from one or both nipples, you know the drill. It’s time to call doc. You’re keeping an eye on anything that can range from milky to yellow in colour to a watery fluid or blood.
STEP 4: Kick back.
Lay down on your back and get comfortable. Use the opposite hand to check your breasts. That’s your left hand for your right boob, and your right hand to feel your left. You only need to feel with the tips of your finger but keep the touch smooth and firm. With fingers together and flat, make a circular motion around the size of a 10p coin. Work side to side, starting at the collarbone all the way to the top of the abdomen. You’ll be going across, across from armpit to armpit.
There are a couple different ways to approach this step of a breast check. It is ultimately up to personal preference. Try out the variations to find the right one for you. As walked through above, there is the vertical side-to-side method. Alternatively you can go the “lawn mower” route. That’s moving vertically up and down with your fingers rather than across your chest. You can also start from the nipple and move outwards in gradually larger circles like a spiral. Just make sure you cover the full area during the lying down check.
Be mindful of the pressure that you apply. Keep it light on the skin just underneath. At the middle of your breasts, switch to medium pressure. Then firmer pressure on deep tissue – this is at the rib cage an you should press enough what you feel them.
STEP 5: Take a seat.
You can actually do this standing or seated but basically you are are going to repeat the motions that you did lying down in Step 4. Many like to get this final step done in the shower of immediately after while skin is damp. If you are struggling to motivate yourself to do this final check, pair with a bottle of Boobs’ Essential Oil and work it into your self-care routine. It’ll help you get slip to perform the check with ease whilst adding in the soothing scent of frankincense. As always, if you spot or feel anything out of the ordinary, err on the side of caution and make an appointment with your medical professional.