Breast Self-Exam

A self breast exam may help you find changes or problems while they are still small. Do a breast self-exam:

  • Every month.

  • One week after your period (menstrual period).

  • On the first day of each month if you do not have periods anymore.

Look for any:

  • Change in breast color, size, or shape.

  • Dimples in your breast.

  • Changes in your nipples or skin.

  • Dry skin on your breasts or nipples.

  • Watery or bloody discharge from your nipples.

Feel for:

  • Lumps.

  • Thick, hard places.

  • Any other changes.


There are 3 ways to do the breast self-exam:

In front of a mirror.

  • Lift your arms over your head and turn side to side.

  • Put your hands on your hips and lean down, then turn from side to side.

  • Bend forward and turn from side to side.

In the shower.

  • With soapy hands, check both breasts. Then check above and below your collarbone and your armpits.

  • Feel above and below your collarbone down to under your breast, and from the center of your chest to the outer edge of the armpit. Check for any lumps or hard spots.

  • Using the tips of your middle three fingers check your whole breast by pressing your hand over your breast in a circle or in an up and down motion.

Lying down.

  • Lie flat on your bed.

  • Put a small pillow under the breast you are going to check. On that same side, put your hand behind your head.

  • With your other hand, use the 3 middle fingers to feel the breast.

  • Move your fingers in a circle around the breast. Press firmly over all parts of the breast to feel for any lumps.


You find any changes in your breasts so they can be checked.