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How to Give Yourself a Bust Self-Exam

Updated: May 8, 2023

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For us women, we have a higher risk for certain types of cancer, including breast cancer. Even if we go for our annual health exam, eat healthy foods, and have healthy habits, it’s important for us to check our bust on a regular basis to ensure that our bust is healthy. But do you know how to properly perform a bust self-exam?

What is a bust self-exam?

Bust self-exams help you familiarize yourself with the shape, size, and texture of your bust. This is important because it can help you determine if what you’re feeling is normal or abnormal. Anytime you feel an abnormality in your bust, tell your healthcare provider.

Steps to perform a bust self-exam

Begin with a visual examination of your breasts. Sit or stand shirtless and braless in front of a mirror with your arms at your sides. To inspect your breasts visually, do the following:

Step 1

The first step in performing self-exam is to stand in front of a mirror, looking at yourself. It’s important that you really look at your bust and take note for the following:

  • Your bust usual size, shape, and color

  • That your busts are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling

If you see any of the following changes, talk with a doctor:

  • Dimpling, wrinkling, or bulging of the skin

  • A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)

  • Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling

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Step 2

The second step to performing your bust self-exam also takes place in front of a mirror, except now you raise your arms over your head. With your arms in the air, you look for the same things as in the first step.

You also want to look for any drainage from your nipples. This refers to fluid that is coming from your nipples. This could be fluid that resembles blood, or it could be milky, green, or yellow in appearance.

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Step 3

The last step of your bust self-exam is to lie down and really feel your bust tissue. Raise one arm above your head and use the fingertips of your other hand to gently feel your busts.

You want to use the pads of your fingers and work your way aroundin a circular motion. Use a soft but firm touch when you’re feeling around to make sure you can detect any small abnormalities.

Make sure in this phase that you cover every area of your bust, including above and below each one. You also want to check the whole way to each armpit, as lumps associated with breast cancer can also be found there.

Follow the same type of pattern every time you perform a self-exam. This assures that you don’t miss any area where a problem could be hiding.

After your monthly bust self-exam and you notice a change in your bust tissue and area, don’t wait for changes to worsen. See your health care provider right away. Eighty percent of all lumps found are normal tissue, benign (non-cancerous) cysts, or benign masses. Only your health care provider can determine the reason for the changes.

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