You know you're supposed to be doing breast exams every month... but it's been awhile since you took health class. So, for a quick and easy refresher, the women of Ladylike (with the help of OB/GYN Dr. Sherry Ross) learned how to give breast self-exams on each other.
Many of us ladies have a special relationship with our breasts:
But for a couple of us it's a little more complicated:
Which is why we were grateful to get some expert instruction on how to give ourselves breast exams from OB/GYN Dr. Sherry Ross.
Even though monthly self-exams aren't technically recommended by the American Cancer Society as a breast cancer screening tool, doctors and experts do encourage you to know what's ~normal~ for your boobs so that you know when something changes.
Says Ross: "The good thing is... if you've been checking, and you know your breasts are typically lumpy, then you'll know what's not normal."
Step 1: Lay down on a flat surface.
Step 2: Raise the arm of the breast you are examining over your head, and keep it there.
Step 3: With the middle three fingers of your opposite hand, press firmly into the outer edge of your breast and drag your fingers inward, toward the nipple.
Step 4: Repeat the process on each of the four quadrants of both breasts. Remember: Start from the outside, and move your way in.
Step 5: Check the armpit!
Make sure to press firmly in order to check the lymph nodes there. "Normal lymph nodes feel like tiny peas," Ross says.
Step 6: Give each nipple a gentle squeeze to check for discharge.
Doing the exam regularly will help you know your body better. Some lumps and bumps, especially along your bra line, can just be cysts, and may come and go.
"You want to start at a really young age just to know your body... as early as 12-13," says Ross. "It's not always cancer we're looking for: We're looking for cysts, we're looking for changes you should be aware of."