How to Examine Your Breasts

Before a Mirror


Examine your breasts while standing in front of a mirror with your arms down by your side, then again with your arms raised high overhead. Look for any changes in the contour of each breast as well as any unusual swelling, dimpling or changes in each nipple.

Lying Down


Place a pillow or folded towel under your right shoulder. Placing your right hand under your head, use the flattened fingertips of your left hand to press gently, moving your hand clockwise in small circular motions around the outer part of the breast. Then move toward the nipple and repeat the same circular motions, moving closer to the center with each full circle. Follow the same procedure to examine the left breast. Finally, gently squeeze the nipple of each breast between your thumb and index finger, looking for any discharge.

Report Changes


If you discover something during your self-examination, report it to your doctor as soon as possible. But don't be frightened—most breast lumps or changes are not cancer. However, only your doctor can make that diagnosis.