3 Common Mistakes Made During Breast Self-Exams

breast self-exam mistakesIt's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so there's never been a better time to get into a solid routine of monthly self-exams. Of course most of us may not know exactly what we're looking for when finally get it together. In fact there are at least three mistakes that women make all the time in regard to breast self-exams.

The biggest mistake, if one would classify it as such, is the fact that we don't do them at all. The first step is making that commitment by picking one date each month that you can remember, and making no excuses.

But just to make sure you're doing it right, reviews these common mistakes we all make when giving ourselves an at-home breast cancer screening -- which can save your life.

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1. Going too fast

You need to spend at least five minutes per breast (at a minimum) giving yourself a breast exam, otherwise you're missing something. Sure it may seem like a long time, but you can't afford to miss any inch of your breast for this screening.

2. Not Paying Attention

If you can't see your breast, you're probably not examining it properly. You  need to use your eyesight as well as your sense of touch during the exam, so stand in front of a mirror if you can't get a good look by just glancing downward. You also need to look for any redness, rashes, or changes from the month prior. Start at the nipple and work your way out while you're standing up straight, arm up. Don't skip the area from your breast up to your armpit. Do it again with your arms relaxed, and while lying down.

3. The Wrong Time of the Month

Doing a breast exam during your period, or immediately before can give your breasts a different feeling than the rest of the month. Hormonal changes can make tissue feel lumpier, and more tender. Stick to the date close to the end of your period each month.

Do you give yourself a self-exam every month?


Image via khrawlings/Flickr

 

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