Monthly breast self-exams play a key role in the early detection of breast cancer; they help you get familiar with your breasts and make sure you notice if any changes arise. But what kind of changes should you be looking for? Read on to find out.
Changes in or around breasts
Each woman’s breasts are different, and certain people may have lumpier tissues than others. If both of your breasts seem to have the same density (or “lumpiness”), then chances are there isn’t anything to worry about. The more familiar you are with your breasts, the likelier you are to be able to detect any new lumps or hard knots.
Size & shape
Pay close attention to your breasts’ shape and size from one self-exam to the next, and see your doctor if there are any significant changes.
See your doctor about any type of pain that is concentrated in one spot on your breast, especially if it doesn’t go away.
Changes in nipples
Look for variations in your nipples such as pulling, the appearance of rashes, scaling, as well as changes in shape, texture, and position.
If one or both of your nipples seem to be turned inward or are very painful, see your doctor.
If you notice any kind of discharge (that isn’t breast milk) that starts suddenly coming out of your nipple, see your doctor. Discharge may be clear and may or may not contain a bit of blood.