You can examine your breasts yourself
About Dr Mohammad Sajid Sheikh
Why is it necessary to know about your Breasts?
Between the ages of 20-50 years women might come across lumps (one or more) in their
breasts. Most of the changes in the breasts are harmless and it is not necessary that
every change is cancerous. Always remember that even cancer in its early stages is curable
and an early diagnosis leads to better results of treatment. There are many signs in the
breast, other than the lump that might help in diagnosis. To get an early treatment a
monthly self examination of the breasts is necessary.
What is Self Examination of Breasts?
By this simple method, you can examine your breasts every month for 10 minutes.You
should know the normal feel and texture of your breasts.Only then you can appreciate some
When Breasts should be examined?
The best time for self examination is the first day of menstruation. If you are in
menopause (you don't have mentrual bleeding) or you are pregnant or you are not having
bleeding due to baby feeding then first day of every month should be selected for your
Best Time for Self examination?
1- While taking bath. 2- In front of a mirror while changing clothes. 3- Lying
in the bed.
Note following things carefully during first examination:
1- Normal size and shape of your breast.
2- Shape of nipple and its position.
3- Normal feel of your breasts.
What changes should be carefully noted while Self examination:
A- Changes in Nipple:
1- Nipple pulled back or change in direction.
2- Seeping of blood from nipple or any other fluid.
3- Pigmentation (dark coloured skin) around the nipple.
4- Swelling of areola.
B- Changes in Breasts:
1- Change in size of the breast.
2- Hardness in some part of breast.
3- Swelling in some part of breast.
4- Prominent veins in some part of breast.
5- Any new change which is not present in other breast.
6- Numbness of the skin of breast.
C- Examination of Armpit:
1- Any swelling or hardness in the armpit.
Method of Self-examination:
A- Examine your breasts carefully while standing in front of a mirror.
1- Place your arms by the side of your body and observe carefully all the signs given
above. (Shape no.1)
2- Now place your arms above your head and observe any dimple or elevation in lower parts
of breasts (Shape no. 2)
3- As given in Shape no.3, take your hands above your head and observe your breasts
generally and your nipples specifically.
4- As in shape no.4, place your hands on your hips and push them down and push your
shoulders back and note any change in your breasts.
Note: In all the four positions given above, examine your breasts turning right and then
left and then bow down and examine in every possible position.
B- Second important part of Self examination is to feel your breast:
1- After taking bath its better to feel with your fingers for any hardness or
2- Start examination from bones of clavicles.
3- Feel your right breast with left hand and then left breast with right hand.
4- Place your palm and then feel your breast applying some force as given in shape no.5.
Move your hand in circular motion till your fingers reach the nipples. (During this
process hand should complete at least four circles on the breast).
5- Now lye down on the bed. Place a towel or pillow under your right shoulder and place
right arm under your head as given in shape no6 and examine your breasts as given above.
Repeat same with left breast.
6- Now examine armpit carefully and look for any swelling or hardness.
7- In the end, pinch nipple softly between your thumb and finger and note for any oozing
of blood or any other fluid. Similarly, pinch any sweeling or any hardness between thumb
If you have examined any change, consult your doctor immediately and investigate the
Dr Mohammad Sajid Sheikh
Assistant Professor Surgery
Punjab Medical College Faisalabad.
(Article in URDU............ )