When Do Self Breast Exam?

Self breast exam, it isn't necessary is it? Oh yes it is. Absolutely. Regular breast self exam can help you find breast changes early. Breast examination needn't be a long, drawn out, dreaded process. So, do you know when to do your self breast exam and about exam basics?

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First, let me briefly recap with the "how to" question.

How to do a breast examination

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  • Stand in front of the mirror, arms at sides, view all angels of your breast.
  • Standing, put your arms up, look at all the breast area in the mirror.
  • Hands on hips, looking in the mirror, slowly lean forward, checking your breasts.
  • One arm over the back of your head.
  • Use three finger pads of the opposite hand.
  • Do circular massaging movements over your breast.
  • Apply different pressure, light, medium and firm.
  • Do varying sized circular massaging motions, small to larger.
  • Go over the entire area in a grid type pattern.
  • Feel the surrounding areas of the breast.
  • Check the area leading to up to your armpit, checking for swollen lymph nodes.
  • Examine your armpit.
  • Squeeze your nipple.
  • Examine your nipple.
  • Do your breast examination lying down as well, repeating the above process.

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When To Do Self Breast Exam?

The best time to do a self breast exam is the week following your period. Why? Because leading up to your period, due to hormonal changes, your breasts may be very tender. I know mine are! Most other women I have spoken to, seem to have the same problem. Sore breasts are a common issue for women all over the world. Because of your breast tenderness due to your cycle, the last thing you want to do around this time, is a breast self exam! Yes, I can relate to that!

Not only could it be uncomfortable, but you may have hormonal breast lumps or breast cysts, that later disappear, once your period has finished. If you were do to a breast examination at this time, not only could you experience discomfort, but you might be alarmed and confused by feeling various breast lumps, that would eventually disappear. You might panic, thinking that you have signs of breast cancer, when in fact it could be your regular cycle, doing its regular thing.

So a good idea is to do a self breast exam about a week after your period has ended. Then you are less likely to have breast tenderness and hormonal breast lumps. If you feel you need support in doing your routine, ask your partner to assist you.

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What happens if you don't have periods? I suggest you pick a day of the month that is easy for you to remember. Perhaps the first of the month? It doesn't really matter as long as each month you do your self breast exam on the same date. It makes it easier to remember to do, and to be honest, those months come around fast! Does that mean I am getting old?

Get your calender out ladies and keep track of your cycle and breast examinations. Perhaps get a notebook and write down your period dates and when you did your self breast exam. This way you can take notes on any areas where you are tender, felt a breast lump, noticed a rash, breast discharge, swelling, indentations, puckering, or any other signs of breast cancer.

I am not a Doctor, however if I was one, and a woman came to me with a notebook containing helpful information about her breast self exam, it would make my job a lot easier!

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So girls do yourself a favour. Next time you are shopping, why not buy yourself a lovely notebook and start being a note taker. Take full control of your breast health. Do regular breast examinations each month, then write down anything about your breast self exam that would be helpful to yourself, or your Doctor. Then take yourself out for coffee!

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