Step 1 - Begin your breast self exam while standing in front of a well-lighted mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips. Look at your breasts and compare them.
- Do your breasts have their usual size, shape and colour without visible distortion or swelling?
- Are there any skin changes such as dimpling or puckering, redness, rash or swelling?
- Did the nipples change position or is there an inverted nipple?
- Is there any discharge if you gently squeeze the nipple between the thumb and index finger?
Then place your palms on your hips and press down firmly, flexing your chest muscles. Check again for any changes.
Step 2 - Raise your arms and look for the same changes. Do your breasts follow the movement?
Check yourself from the front and from the sides. Do you see retractions or bulges?
Step 4 - Feel your breasts while lying on your back. Place a pillow under your left shoulder or your left arm under your head. It will help to spread the breast tissue over your chest wall.
Begin with a barehanded examination: Use your right hand to feel your left breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion. Examine every part of your breast and armpit, feeling for a lump or hardness. Follow a pattern, e.g. vertical strips, to be sure that you cover the whole breast.
Always follow the instructions provided in the package with the test.
Then perform both the bare-handed and Aware® Pad exam on your right breast.
Any noticeable change during either the barehanded breast exam or using the Aware® Pad, should be reported to your doctor for proper evaluation.
Note: The Aware Pad is an aid to breast self-exams. However, this product makes no explicit claim to find breast cancer, breast lumps or any other type of breast disease. Aware should be used in conjunction with regular medical visits and periodic ultrasound/mammography.
“Most women's breasts have lumps and bumps in them, and it is important for a women to do self-breast exams, so that she knows where her normal lumps and bumps are. So that if there is ever a new lump, she will be the first one to find it and seek a doctor's attention.”
Benjamin Goldman, M.D., North Shore University Hospital