Here is how to do a breast self-exam in 10 steps

Knowing your body is first line of defense, doctors say

By Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

Red, Sore or Swollen Breasts -- In women, breasts that appear red or purplish in color or feel hot, swollen or irritated can mean inflammatory breast cancer.

MIAMI - By performing a breast self-exam at least once a month, women with and without breast implants will become more familiar with their tissue and appearance, so that if changes occur they will be able to notice them faster and act swiftly. 

Doctors believe seven to 10 days after a menstrual period is an ideal time to perform a self-exam, because the tissue is less lumpy. Pay attention and don't rush through the process. This process doesn't replace a clinical breast exam or a mammogram. 

Here is how to do a self-exam in 10 steps:

1. Stand naked in front of a mirror with your arms on your sides and turn from side to side. You are looking for changes in shape, skin texture and color in both breasts and nipples. 

2. Place your hands on your waist and turn from side to side again. 

3. Clasp your hands together in front of you and tighten the chest muscles. Repeat this with your hands above your head and turn from side to side. 

4. Place your hands at your waist and bow while facing the mirror, while paying attention to any changes in shape. 

5. While applying cream, touch your collarbone, and the areas above and below the collarbone. You will be searching for any lumps or thickening. 

6. Place your right arm at your side and with your left hand check the under arm area with the tips of your fingers. Change sides and pay attention to any changes or lumps. 

7. Lay down, raise your right arm and with your left fingers check your armpit. Change sides and pay attention to any changes or lumps.  

8. Place a pillow under your left shoulder, bend your left arm behind your head and reach with your hand to check your left breast for lumps or changes. Change sides. 

9. Use the tips of your fingers to make circular motions on the breast tissue.

10. Move your hand in straight rows to cover all of the breast tissue from the collarbone to the bra line on both sides. 


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