Check yourself step by step

Step 1: Begin

Start in an upright position, hands on your hips. Look at your breasts with the help of a mirror, your mobile phone, or a friend.

Step 2: Look

Do you see any changes in size, shape or colour. Swelling? Puckering of the skin? Raise your arms and check again.

Step 3: Feel

Use the pads of your fingers and feel your breast. Follow a pattern. Feel for lumps, hardened knots and thickenings.

Step 4: Circles

Keep your fingers together and flat. Move in small circles. Repeat using light, medium and then firm pressure. With firm pressure you should feel your ribcage.

Step 5: Armpit

Cover all the way up to your armpit. The left hand feels the right side and the right hand feels the left side.

Step 6: Nipple

Squeeze the nipple. Is there any unusual discharge?

Step 7: Lie down

Lie down so the tissue spreads out evenly. Repeat the examination of your breasts.

Helpful hint: Shower

You can do your self-check under the shower. Sometimes it’s easier when the breast is wet and soapy.

What to look for

Lumps, knots, thickenings

Lumps, hardened knots or thickenings in the breast tissue can be a sign of breast cancer. They can occur right under the skin, in the middle of the breast or in the deep tissue near the bones.

Changes in size or shape

Unusual changes in size, contour or shape should be checked. The same is true for distortions or swellings. Keep in mind that your left and right breast might look different. Know what is normal for you.

Nipple discharge

The nipple should look normal to you, and should be free from irritation. Check for unusual discharge of fluid or blood.

Skin changes

There should be no strange wrinkling or bulging of the skin. Get checked if there is any persistent redness, soreness or rash, especially if only on one side.

Did you notice anything unusual?

Keep calm - most changes are not dangerous. Check again after your next menstrual cycle. If it's still there, consult your doctor or health professional.

Our app will guide you

Our app will guide you

To make self-checks easy, we developed the free DearMamma app. It guides you through the process and allows you to set up regular reminders.

Download the app now:

Check Your Breasts - Save Your Life

If you notice anything unusual, go see your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection saves lives, so please make sure you and your loved ones check regularly!

Prof. Nayi Zongo

Cancer surgeon and senologist at Yalgado Quédraogo University Hospital as well as professor and cancer researcher at Joseph Ki-ZERBO University in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

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