In the early diagnosis of breast cancer, self-examination is of vital importance.

In our country, most cases of breast cancer are detected by women themselves. Regular self-examination significantly reduces mortality from breast cancer.

How often should it be done?

Once a month, specifically from the 5th to the 10th day after the beginning of the menstrual cycle, as the breasts are usually softer and less sensitive during that time.

How should it be done?

First, a visual examination should be performed, followed by palpation.

Visual examination:

Stand in front of the mirror with your hands down and sideways. Observe if there is anything unusual in the appearance of your breasts. Usually, one breast is slightly larger than the other. What needs special attention is any change in the size or shape of the breasts. Also, pay attention to the presence of any lumps or retraction (indentation or pulling inward) of the skin or nipple, as well as any thickening of the skin, redness, or a hard texture with dimpled pores (“peau d’orange” appearance). This examination should be repeated with the hands raised behind the head and with the hands slightly below the waist while pressing the chest firmly to tighten the chest muscles.


At the end of the visual examination, you can gently squeeze the nipples while still standing, observing if there is any dark bloody discharge or other discharge from the nipple. Then, lie down and place, for example, your right hand next to your body and then behind your head, while using your left hand to examine your right breast, and vice versa. The examination is done using the three middle fingers with circular movements in an imaginary circle with a diameter of 1-1.5 cm, “sweeping” the breast from the outside to the middle and from top to bottom. Here it is important to note that the breast extends to a much larger area than believed, and it is important to examine the entire breast. You can also perform self-examination in the shower, where palpation is easier. It is advisable for a woman, during one of her annual visits, to discuss the technique of self-examination and some specific details with her attending physician.


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