The Importance of Breast Self-Exams

At our plastic surgery practice, we consult with women far too often who’ve overcome breast cancer. While we’re thrilled that the women we encounter have beaten the disease, we’d be much happier if we heard more stories of early detection and complete treatment.

breast examEarly detection of breast cancer is dependent upon regular breast self-exams. At least on a monthly basis, check your breasts for lumps, thickened tissue, and texture changes. Performing a complete self-exam entails surveying and feeling your breast in multiple positions.

Start by looking at your bare breasts in the mirror. Uneven breasts isn’t necessarily cause for concern. One larger and one smaller breast is normal. But watch for changes in color and texture of the breast skin and nipples. Place your hands on your hips to tighten your chest muscles. Lean forward and back to scan your breasts from every angle. Be sure to also check for discharge from your nipples.

Then, feel your breasts for abnormalities. Start at your collar bone and continue down to the ribs below your breasts and from your armpits to between your breasts. Use an up and down pattern on both breasts. Lying down, make a circular motion across the same areas. Take note when you encounter tissue that’s distinctly different.

Questionable skin and tissue include:

  • Noticeable changes to the breast skin or tissue
  • Marble-like lumps within the breast tissue
  • Lump or thick tissue near your armpit
  • Dimpled or puckered breast skin texture
  • Red skin of the breast or nipple
  • Excess or bloody nipple discharge

Some changes can indicate breast cancer. Others may be totally benign. Consulting with your doctor is the best way to determine if you’ve developed the disease. Should you be diagnosed with breast cancer early, your chances of a complete recovery is much more likely.

Performing breast reconstructions is one of the most rewarding procedures we offer. We understand that these patients have overcome a great struggle. And we love to restore patient confidence with a new pair of breasts. Give us a call if we can assist you in any way!