How to examine my breast

I am in my teens and have read that the best way to avoid breast cancer is to examine one’s breasts regularly for lumps. Kindly let me know how to do this.

Ngozi (by SMS)


Breast lumps occur most frequently in young women, usually within 20 years after puberty.  The typical breast lump is a round firm, discrete, relatively movable, non-tender mass. The lump is usually discovered accidentally.  Although many breast lumps are harmless, it is still very important for any breast lump to be removed and sent for pathological examination to rule out the possibility of breast cancer.

Since many cases of breast lumps are discovered accidentally, it is important for individuals to be taught on how to examine their breasts. Firstly, observe your breasts while sitting with arms at both sides and overhead especially for presence of skin and nipple abnormalities.  These abnormalities may become more obvious by raising your arms overhead or by pressing your hands on your hip.  With the help of the fingers, the breast should be palpated especially while lying down on the back with pillow at the back.

The examination should be meticulous, methodical and gentle.  Abnormal variations in breast size and contour, minimal nipple retraction, redness or retraction of the skin are best identified by careful observation in good light.  In some cases, (5-10%) of cases of breast cancer have been discovered during physical examination for other purposes.


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