Breast cancer affects 1 in 10 women - here's how to examine your breasts, step by step

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One in ten women in Sweden is affected by breast cancer, and this form of cancer accounts for nearly one-third of all female cancers. By regularly examining your breasts, you increase the chances of detecting any changes more easily.

How to examine your breasts – step by step

It's important to remember that most lumps are not breast cancer, and breast pain and tenderness are not common symptoms; they are often due to natural hormonal changes. X-rays can detect cancer tumors that are too small to be felt with your fingers.

Step 1 – Mirror

Start by getting to know the appearance of your breasts using a mirror:

  1. Raise your arms over your head and pay attention to any changes.
  2. Look at their shape; do they maintain their usual form?
  3. Is the skin its normal color and smooth?
  4. As for the nipples, do they look as usual? And do they move upward when you lift your arms?

Step 2 – Feel

Examine your breasts by feeling them in the following steps:

  1. Place your left hand behind your head.
  2. With your right hand, feel your left breast and armpit.
  3. Use straight fingers, apply gentle pressure.
  4. Make small circular motions around the breast in several rounds.
  5. Start with the nipple, move your fingers about an inch away, and go around in a circle.
  6. Continue this way, round after round, until you have searched your entire breast.
  7. Finish in the armpit.
  8. Repeat the same process for examining your right breast.

Step 3 – Lie down

Lie down and feel your breasts, place your left hand under your head and feel your left breast and left armpit:

  1. How do the breasts feel?
  2. Do you feel any lumps or hardening?
  3. Is the size and firmness of your breasts normal?

Examine in the shower

Examining your breasts may feel challenging at first. Performing the examination in the shower can make it easier to detect irregularities when the breasts are soapy. If you choose to do the examination in the shower, follow the same step-by-step process mentioned above.

If you want to learn more about breast cancer, breast examination, mammography, and how to seek help, visit cancerfonden.se.

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