Knowing your body is one of the single best ways to stay healthy, since it allows you to recognize and address issues early, when they’re easier to treat. That’s why it’s so important to examine your breasts regularly and to do it correctly. Here’s how:
1: Look in the mirror
Stand topless in front of a mirror with your shoulders straight and your hands on your hips. Look at your breasts to check that they are . . .
- their usual size, shape and color
- evenly shaped without any swelling or distortion
Then raise your arms and look again for the same types of changes.
2: Lie down
While lying down, use your right hand to feel your left breast and your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm touch with the first few fingers on your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Beginning at the nipple and moving in larger and larger circles, feel your breast tissue and keep going until you reach the outer edge of each breast.
3: Stand or sit
Finally, when you’re standing or sitting, feel your breasts again, using the same motions as when you’re lying down. You may find this easiest to do in the shower, when your skin is wet and slippery.
The point of all this is to know the look and feel of your breasts so you can notice any changes or issues to bring to your doctor’s attention, including bulging or lumps or redness, soreness, rashes or swelling, as well as any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples. This knowledge of your body—along with regular visits to your healthcare provider—will help give you peace of mind about your breast health for years to come.