Doing a self-exam and evaluating the results requires finger-tip sensation, good fine-motor skills and adequate thinking/reasoning abilities. If you struggle with any of these, you should have a caregiver do the exam.

  1. Visually examine your breasts in front of a mirror. Look for changes in size, shape or skin texture.
  2. Check your breast every month, one week after your period. Some people find a reminder from a friend is helpful.
  3. Lie down and put a pillow under your right shoulder. Put your right arm over your head. If you are unable to perform the exam in this way, ask your health-care provider how you can use a technique that works for you.
  4. Use your fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in your right breast.
  5. Make sure you press firmly enough to know what your breast feels like. Ask your health-care provider to show you how.
  6. Move your fingers in the same way around your breast. Pick one of these ways:
    1. A circle
    2. Up and down
    3. Out from the center
  7. Repeat the steps above with the left breast.
  8. If you think you feel a lump, tell your health-care provider.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.