Be Proactive About Your Breast Health with Monthly Self-Breast Exams

by Brittany Peña, Nurse Practitioner, Prescott Women’s Clinic

Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump.

 Establishing a regular self-breast exam is particularly important for the health of women.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is important for all women to be aware of their breasts and to do their own self-breast examination, as well as an inspection.

 For inspection of the breasts, women should look at themselves in the mirror to assess for any new size difference, nipple retraction or changes to the direction of the nipples, and skin changes such as thickening or discoloration of the breast. 

 In regard to examination of the breasts, it may be done in the shower or when laying down in bed. It is important to exam all areas of the breasts, which includes into the axilla (armpit), the whole breast up to the clavicle and down the center of the breasts (sternum). 

It is a good idea to do the exams on the same day every month. 

As a provider, women know their breasts better than we do if you are doing your proper examinations. Although eight out of 10 lumps are benign, all require an evaluation. Women should be seen with any suspicious lumps, bumps, discharge or skin changes for further evaluation and assessment.  

Remember to contact your health care provider to schedule routine physical exams or an office visit if you have any concerns.