How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam the Right Way

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Far too many women neglect their monthly breast self-exams for a variety of reasons, such as not understanding how to properly perform one, not knowing what is normal and what is not, or simply not having enough time. Whatever the reason, however, it’s a dangerous thing to neglect.

One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and any person can develop breast cancer, no matter their age, sex, body type, or any other factor. Even yearly mammograms are not always enough to catch aggressive and fast-growing forms of breast cancer. In order to catch the cancer early for the best chance of successfully curing it, it’s important to perform your own breast self-exam once a month.

Photo: YouTube/CourageIsMyStrength

Photo: YouTube/CourageIsMyStrength

If you menstruate, a good time to do a breast self-exam—and a good way to remember when to do it—is right after your period. Your breasts are also likely to be less bumpy and less tender than they may be at other times of the month, making the process a little less complicated.

Photo: YouTube/CourageIsMyStrength

Photo: YouTube/CourageIsMyStrength

The most important thing to look for when performing a self-exam is any change. Many women have lumps and bumps in their breasts or variations between the two breasts, but anything that is out of the ordinary for a particular woman’s body is a good reason to visit a doctor.

Photo: YouTube/CourageIsMyStrength

Photo: YouTube/CourageIsMyStrength

The video below will show you exactly how to do a breast exam from start to finish. While there are a few different steps that could take a bit of time and effort, it’s really a pretty simple process. Once you’ve learned the proper techniques and memorized the steps or written them down, you’re ready to go!

The size of your breasts determines how long your self-exam will take, but the whole process requires only about five minutes of your time. Check it out!

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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?