To become familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts. Knowing your normal look and feel will help you recognize any changes that may signal breast disease (such as lumps or thickening).
All women over age 20 should perform a regular breast self-exam once a month, including those with breast implants.
It is based on a take-home reusable test pad called Aware® Breast Self-Exam Pad manufactured by Biomerica. The test kit contains also a guide for the breast self-examination with and without the Aware® Pad.
No, the Aware® Breast Self-Exam Pad is intended to be used as an aid in performing a routine breast self-examination; it simply reduces friction between fingers and breast.
Once a month, three to five days after your menstrual cycle ends. If you no longer have a menstrual cycle, perform the exam on the same day of each month.
See your doctor if you discover any changes in your breast. Changes that should be checked by a doctor include:
- An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast
- Lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through your menstrual cycle
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea
- A marble-like area under the skin
- A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple (dimpled, puckered, scaly, or inflamed)
- Bloody or clear fluid discharge from the nipples
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple
Not necessarily, 80% of all breast lumps are not cancerous. You should contact your physician as soon as possible to discover the reason for the change.
Not necessarily. The exam should be repeated every month. Women who perform regular breast self-exams find 90% of all breast masses.
Survival rates are as high as 97% when detected early, that's why performing this exam regularly is so important.