Don't forget to

it could help
save your life

“I started my mammograms early because my family has a history of breast cancer; it might have been lifesaving for me.”

CYNTHIA NIXON
Actress

BEFORE
STARTING
YOUR BREAST
SELF-CHECK

Pick-A-Motion:


USE THE INNER PADS OF THE THREE MIDDLE FINGERS
(see red circle on each hand of illustrations below)). Press into your breasts using light, medium and firm pressure.

(1) CIRCULAR

circular

(2) UP AND DOWN

up and down

(3) WEDGE

wedge

Be sure to feel the entire breast with the same motion each month. This will insure that you will pick up any changes in your breasts that may occur.


HOW YOU CAN SCREEN FOR AND HELP PREVENT
WOMEN’S BREAST CANCER

Your Self chec Keeping Healthy Guide

Examining your breasts every month and having a clinical breast exam by your doctor and a mammogram every year could save your breasts and your life by finding breast cancer as early as possible. It also helps to know the leading risk factors for breast cancer and to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly. 

 

WomensBreast Image: NCI

 Screening For Breast Cancer
What You Can Do:

Beginning at age 20:

Get a Clinical Breast Exam every three years. The chance of breast cancer occurring in your 20s is very low, but gradually increases with age. If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about starting mammograms earlier than the general recommendations.

Do a Breast Self-chec every month. By checking your breasts frequently, you may be the first one to notice any changes that take place. Report any changes in either breast to your healthcare provider right away.

Beginning at age 40:

Get a Mammogram and Clinical Breast Exam every year.  

Continue doing your monthly Breast Self-chec. 

 Your Breast Self-checs
What to do:

You are your body’s best friend. Checking your breasts monthly makes you more familiar with what “normal” feels like, enabling you to notice any changes that may take place.

Set a time each month to check your breasts, about a week after your period ends. If you no longer get your period, set the same day aside each month to check.

View the video below and/or print the Self chec How-to-Guide. Become more proactive and empower yourself towards a healthier life.

We are grateful to Videojug.com for permitting Self chec to share this very important video with you.

Your Breast-chec VIDEO how-to-guide


Your Breast-chec PRINT how-to-guide

Before you start Pick A Motion (pam)

The best way to check you breasts each month is to pick one motion you will use every time. Use the box on the right to guide your choice. Using the same motion will help ensure that you will pick up any changes in your breasts that may occur.

Now you’re ready to start. Experts recommend checking from two positions, lying down and standing up. Here’s how.

Option One: Lying down

1) Place a folded towel or pillow under your right shoulder.

2) Place your right hand behind your head.

3) Using the inner pads of the three middle fingers of your left hand, press into your right breast with light, medium and firm pressure. Start in the center of the breast, from the nipple outwards. Feel for any lumps or thickening on the breast.

4) Continue examining your breast, moving outward to feel for any changes in the upper and outer parts, below and above your breast and in your upper chest area. Continue up to your collarbone and in and around your armpit area.

Take your time. When you are done, repeat each step on your left breast.

Be sure to feel the entire breast with the same motion each month. This will ensure that you will pick up any changes in your breasts that may occur.  Look and feel for any lumps, puckering, dimpling, rash, nipple discharge or any other change that does not seem normal.

Option Two: In front of a mirror 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1.
Start with your arms at your sides, then using your PAM motion, use your left hand to feel for any changes in the upper and outer parts of your right breast and below and above the breast in your upper chest area.

Continue up to your collarbone and in and around your armpit area. Then use your right hand to check your left breast and surrounding area.

2. With arms behind your head, look for any changes in the size, shape and color of your breasts.

3. Arms pressed firmly against hips, bend forward and look and feel for any lumps, puckering  dimpling, rash, nipple discharge or any other change that does not seem normal.

Option Three: In the shower

1) Make sure your hand is soapy. Place your right hand in back of your head. Using the inner pads of the three middle fingers of your left hand, press into your right breast with light, medium and firm pressure. Start in the center of the breast, from the nipple outwards. Feel for any lumps or thickening on the breast.

2) Continue examining your breast, moving outward to feel for any changes in the upper and outer parts, below and above your breast and in your upper chest area. Continue up to your collarbone and in and around your armpit area.

Always look and feel for any lumps, puckering, dimpling, rash, nipple discharge or any other change that does not seem normal.

Take your time. When you are done, repeat each step on your left breast.

This Breast Self-chec is not a substitute for seeing your doctor or healthcare practitioner yearly. To be effective, breast cancer early detection must combine 1) Monthly Breast check, 2) Regular Clinical Exam and 3) Yearly Mammogram if over age 40, or sooner if you’re in a high risk group.

 

Understanding Healthcare Screenings
What they are:

Mammograms are x-ray images taken to look for tumors that you aren’t yet able to feel. The images may also show microcalcifications, or tiny deposits of calcium, that sometimes can signal breast cancer. A mammogram usually consists of two x-ray images of each breast.

Mammography helps reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74, especially for those over age 50.

If you have breast implants, choose a mammography facility with technicians and radiologists experienced in performing mammograms on women with implants and make the staff aware that you have them when you call to schedule your appointment. Implants can hide some breast tissue, but steps can be taken to make sure that as much breast tissue as possible is seen on the mammogram. 

A clinical breast exam is a breast check done by a health professional during an office visit. Your healthcare provider will first look for abnormalities in size or shape and any changes in the skin of the breasts or nipples, then will examine your breasts and surrounding areas up to your armpits using the pads of his or her fingers. 

Use this exam to be sure you’re doing your monthly self-checks correctly. Ask your doctor or nurse to watch your technique and show you any needed adjustments.

Special Considerations: Your doctor might recommend a breast ultrasound, or sonogram, another type of imaging test. An ultrasound helps identify problems uncovered on a mammogram because it helps distinguish between cysts and other harmless issues and suspicious breast changes as well as look at adjacent lymph nodes. Many health organizations recommend that women at high risk for breast cancer get an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)  in addition to a mammogram every year starting at age 30 or when you and your healthcare provider feel is appropriate based on your personal circumstances. Factors that put a woman at a higher risk include having a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation or a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister or child) with such a gene mutation, and having had radiation therapy to the chest between the ages of 10 and 30 years. Both tests are recommended because, although an MRI is a more sensitive test, it can still miss some cancers that a mammogram would detect. 

What to Do If You Find Something

Cancer is no longer the “Big C” killer so many of us grew up hearing about and fearing. Helping you understand that the fear is the real enemy, not the cancer, is one of the reasons why Self chec was created. Fear can paralyze and keep us from responding proactively. A quick response is the first line of defense we can utilize to fight cancers, heart disease and other chronic diseases that are often preventable, treatable and possibly curable.

Listen to your body.

sicfeminist

 

 

 

 

 

 

If something feels or looks different, err on the side of caution and call your healthcare professional for a check-up. Write down exactly what you see or feel on a piece of paper, including any questions you have.

Don’t panic. Remember that changes on your skin or lumps in your breasts or testicles are not sure signs of cancer, just as eating a food your body isn’t used to can cause chest discomfort and weakness, but doesn’t automatically signal diabetes or are a heart attack.

Good resources for you to learn more:

The Mayo Clinic’s “Breast Cancer Prevention” page

The Cleveland Clinic’s “Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines” page

 
© 2005 All illustrations, Fairman Studios, LLC. All rights reserved
Illustrations may not be reproduced in any form without
the express consent of Fairman Studios, LLC and Self chec, Inc.

IMPORTANT: The information on the cancer pages of this site was culled by the director of Self chec and initially reviewed by the folks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on the newest information from the national cancer advisory organizations, including, but not limited to, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and American Cancer Society. We recognize that the national cancer advisory organizations sometimes do not agree about specific cancer guidelines, often making it confusing to the public about what to do. That is why we are asking you to err on the side of caution by always consulting a healthcare professional to advise you in the healthy choices you will make. Thank you.

 

Join the conversation about Women’s Breast Cancer:


2 Comments to “Women’s Breast”


  1. Varenne Y

    DON’T TAKE THE GIFT OF LIFE FOR GRANTED
    My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 54 and died just before her 60th birthday. We miss her so much! During the last 12 years, I’ve had 3 operations for the removal of breast tumors. Two were found due to my monthly self breast exams. Thank God, all were benign. I never miss my annual mammography exams or doing monthly self exams. I have a lot to live for… two absolutely beautiful daughters, great family and friends and a wonderful man in my life.

    Don’t take the gift of life for granted — schedule your annual check-ups and definitely do monthly “self-checks”!



  2. Madhu M

    SELF-CHECKING AND SELF CHEC ARE SO IMPORTANT
    I’m doing fine. What a curveball! I had a mammogram and routine breast exam in December. Mammogram showed nothing but the doctor pointed out a couple of lumps she said I should have checked out. Scheduled another mammogram in June, by which time I noticed that one of the lumps had doubled, not in size, but it had become two lumps. Still, the June mammogram showed nothing! But I told them that the lump had doubled, so they did a sonogram and lo and behold! There it was. It looked just like it felt. Two little lumps, connected, kinda like dumbbells. Amazing. Anyway, so they did a core needle biopsy and found that it was cancer. Had a lumpectomy. Went to India to see my parents for two weeks. Got back. Now I’m starting radiation and tamoxifen. It’s SO important to know your body. Had I not noticed the change in my breast, I could have been in a much different situation.





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