Sorry, ladies, but your annual mammogram alone is not going to cut it. Women (and men!) need to get their recommended mammograms and do monthly self-breast exams. The majority of women—about eight out of 10—first find breast lumps on their own. Monthly self-checks are key in early detection.
But if you’re wisely taking the time to do your self-checks, it’s worth it to know what you’re doing.
Below, Dr. Laura Kruper, breast surgeon at the City of Hope hospital in Los Angeles, explains the key elements of doing a self-exam. There are two major components: look and feel.
Dr. Kruper explains not only what to look for, but how we should be looking at our breasts so that we don’t miss anything. Some lumps and other symptoms don’t show unless we make sure to look from all angles as well as under the breast. Posture makes a difference too—certain signs can hide if we’re not paying attention to posture.
After explaining what to look for while standing, Dr. Kruper shows us what to look for while lying down and explains the importance of using three fingers instead of one when checking for abnormalities. She reminds us that being familiar with how our breasts look and feel is key to identifying when something is off.
While we’re doing our breast checks, let’s not cheat ourselves by flying through or using sloppy technique. You’re worth the time and effort it takes to keep yourself healthy and informed.
Take care to take good care of yourself, and stay healthy, friends!