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Your breasts change throughout your life. Monthly breast self-exams can help you learn what is normal for you. That way, you are more likely to notice any unusual changes. Try to check your breasts after your menstrual period each month when your breasts are less tender and swollen. If you don’t have periods, aim for the first of each month.
Look in the mirror with your hands at your sides. Then raise your arms. Do you see any flattening, bulging, or puckering on your breasts? Next, raise your arms, then put your hands on your hips. Look for changes in your breast movement or shape as you move your arms.
Lie on your side with a pillow under your right shoulder. Put your right arm above your head. (You can also do this exam in the shower with soapy hands.)
Feel your right breast with your left hand.
Use an up-and-down pattern. Use the same pattern each month.
Use the pads of your three middle fingers (index finger, middle finger, and ring finger). Move over the breast in small circles (the size of a dime).
Feel for lumps or thickening.
Repeat on your left side.
Note any discharge from your nipple.
Call your doctor if you find any of the following:
New lumps or thickening
Puckering of the skin or other changes
Spontaneous or bloody discharge from the nipple
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