Breast Self Exam Instructions for Blind Women
How to Breast Self-Exam, narrated by Dr. Kim Kubek, M.D.
What exactly is a breast self-exam? Many women fail to perform breast self-exams because they simply don’t know what’s normal. They don’t know how their breasts should feel. Normal breasts can be lumpy, and feel firm, especially at different times in your menstrual cycle. One breast can be larger than the other. The more familiar you are with your breasts, the easier it will be for you to detect a clinical change. Breast self-exams can be performed either lying down or standing up in the shower. I think examining your breast while soapy in the shower is the easiest method.
- Stand upright and examine each breast with the opposite hand
- Examine your right breast with your left hand
- Examine your left breast with your right hand
- Use the pads of your fingers, not the tips
- Start in the area under your armpit and move your finger pads downward towards your nipple
- It is necessary to examine all four quadrants (Upper inside, Upper outside, Lower outside, Lower inside).
- I find it easiest to examine each breast along the spokes of a bicycle wheel. You slowly follow the spokes of a bicycle wheel until you’ve examined all four quadrants
- Examine one breast in its entirety, then examine the opposite breast
- Try to determine if the breasts feel the same in each quadrant
I have some useful tips that will hopefully encourage you to keep trying breast self-exams. Your breasts are different at different times in your cycle. I find it easiest to examine the breast immediately following your menstrual cycle. If something feels different, immediately examine the same spot in the other breast. If it feels the same in the other breast, it is most likely normal tissue. The breasts are fullest in the upper outer quadrant (the area between your armpit and your nipple) so rest assured that this area will feel firmer than the other areas. When you are examining your breasts press firmly with your finger pads. If you feel a discrete lump, an area that is firm and tender, or an area that feels indented, you need to contact your clinician. Your doctor or other healthcare professional and you are partners in defending you against breast cancer. Your part is to learn correct breast self-exam techniques and to use them thoroughly and diligently each month. So I do not encourage you to panic each month. I also beg you to not be complacent. Ask a significant other to feel what you feel if you are worried. Ask for help.
To hear an audio recording of how to do a breast self exam, click here