One of the most important and practical ways to promote breast cancer awareness among women is by teaching how to keep track of how their breasts normally look and feel.
Using "normal" as a baseline, it then becomes a lot easier to notice if or when any changes in your breasts occur.
Breast self-exams should be performed on the same day each month to enforce the habit of checking for any changes to your breasts that may signal breast cancer.
If you are premenopausal, wait a week after menstruation when your breasts will not be as tender or sensitive.
Just up ahead, simple steps for regularly examining your breasts usually takes only about 15 minutes.
1. Stand in front of the mirror with both arms by your side and look closely at both of your breasts. Look for changes in size, color or texture.
2. Lying on the bed, put a towel or small pillow under your right shoulder and put your right hand behind your head.
With the middle three fingers of your left hand examine your right breast.
3. Start at the nipple and go in circles around your breast until the ENTIRE surface is examined. Pay attention to any changes (lumps, bumpy texture, tenderness) from last month's self-exam.
4. After you examine your breast, move to your underarm (lymph node area) and look for changes there. Gently press the nipple and check for discharge and changes in the nipple itself. Follow the same procedure with the left breast.
5. In the shower, examine your right breast and underarm area exactly the way you did on the bed (except for the pillow, of course). Follow the same procedure on your left side.