The Importance of Breast Self-Exams


Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month.

While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes.

When in the shower, using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.

When you are in front of a mirror, inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.

Need a monthly reminder? There’s an app for that. The text messaging campaign is known as Underwire Alerts. By texting PINK to 59227, you too can receive these free monthly alerts. They are sent out on the first Wednesday of every month. There is also a form that can be filled out on the website that will allow you to receive the monthly text message. Standard data rates and charges from your carrier still apply.