Breast self-exams are at at-home, monthly checks for breast cancer. They are performed by palpitating your breast tissue. While your yearly visit to Dr. Sharon Diamond, Upper East Side gynecologist, will include a thorough breast examination, checking your own breasts each month gives you the opportunity to discover a lump or other abnormality earlier. When breast cancer is discovered in its early stages, the chances of beating it are much higher.
How Do I Perform a Breast Self-Exam?
The visual part of the exam will include standing up straight in front of a mirror undressed from the waist up. Differences in size and shape between your breasts are very common and no cause for alarm. However, you will want to look for any recent changes in each breast, including their size, shape and color. Be on the lookout for puckering, dimpling, or sores. Each nipple should also be inspected for peeling, discharge or changes to their shape or direction. Bending forward and standing with your arms over your head will allow you to look at your breasts from a variety of angles.
The physical part of the exam should be performed in the shower and while lying down. While in the shower, the breasts, armpits and collarbone should be palpitated thoroughly with the flat part of your fingers in an up-and-down pattern. While lying down, they should be felt using a circular clockwise motion. Your nipples should also be examined to make sure they move easily and do not produce any discharge.
All of these instructions will be demonstrated for your during your appointment at Dr. Diamond's office, and written directions will be given to you to take home.
What happens if I find something?
Call your Upper East Side gynecologist Dr. Diamond right away if you discover any abnormality: a lump or thickening (which may be as small as a pea), a change in the way the skin on your breast looks or feels, discharge from your nipples, or anything that looks markedly different. All of these changes will need to be inspected by Dr. Diamond immediately.
As you perform breast self-exams each month, you will become familiar with the way each one feels and be able to notice any changes quickly. Take charge of your health by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Diamond. Call today at (212) 876-2200.