October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Marie Claire encourages you to do regular breast self-examinations at home. A self-examination helps women notice any changes in their breast tissue well in advance. Research shows that 40% of breast cancers are detected by women who notice the appearance of a lump – early detection is key as you have a better chance of fighting it.

 Join us in being proactive in the fight against breast cancer by following this easy how-to guide.

STEP BY STEP:

Do your breast self-exam several days after your period ends, when your breasts are least likely to be swollen or tender.

1. Appearance:
Stand with your hands on your hips and check the appearance of your breasts.

2. Movement:
Raise arms over your head and see if your breasts move in the same way – take note of any differences. Look towards your armpits and see if there is any swelling where your lymph nodes are.

3. Apply Pressure:
Raise your left arm overhead, and use your right-hand fingers to apply gentle pressure to the left breast, moving across from the inside of the breast all the way into your armpit area. You can use a circular motion, being sure to cover the entire breast area. Switch sides and repeat.

4. Squeeze Nipples:
Still facing the mirror, lower both arms and check your nipples. With the index and middle fingers of your right hand, gently squeeze the left nipple and pull forward. Reverse your hands and check the right nipple the same way.

5. Recline & Apply Pressure:
Place a pillow on your bed and lie with both your head and shoulders on the pillow. Lie down and put your left hand behind your head. Use your right hand to stroke the breast and underarm as you did in step 3. Switch sides and repeat.

Remember:

Finding a lump does not necessarily mean cancer is present; most women have breast lumps. Instead, look out for any changes in the shape and feel of your breasts over time. If you notice any irregular changes, contact your healthcare professional for a check-up.