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Breast Self Exam

 Breast Awareness  

Twenty percent of all breast cancers are not visible on mammography. Therefore, if there is one thing that you learn from this section on breast health, realize that a true mass in the breast needs to be biopsied or sampled even when mammograms, ultrasounds and MRI’s do not show a lesion. A mass in the breast can present as a ridge, a thickening or even a change in the skin of the breast. Because the breast tissue changes with the menstrual cycle, it is very important to know the architecture of your breast tissue. If you notice a change in your breast you should have it evaluated by your family doctor or gynecologist, who will refer you to a surgeon if necessary. Breast awareness is the key.


What to look for?

With your arms on your hips, then over your head

1. Skin dimpling

2. Skin retraction (pulling in or puckering of the skin)

3. Bulging of the skin,

4. Inversion of the nipple (the nipple diving in instead of out),

5. Redness or edema (fluid or thckening of the skin). 


Monthly breast self exam is an important part of sustained breast health. Once a month <the week after your period if you still get your period or the first of the month if you are post menopausal >you should begin the exam by looking in the mirror.


Next the breast exam can be performed in the shower using soap and water or in front of the mirror using body oil or gel to help your hands glide over your breasts. Begin with one arm over your head using firm but gentle pressure allow the pads of your fingers to glide over your breast moving side to side from the top of the breast to the fold below the breast.


What can a mass feel like?

1. A firm pea

2. A marble

3. A thickening or a ridge

4. Gravel


Use your right hand to examine your left breast and vice versa. Pay special attention to the nipple region feeling for any changes. The exam is then repeated lying on your back checking from the armpit to the breast bone and the collar bone to the abdomen. The nipple can be gently squeezed to see if there is a discharge of fluid.

Feel Your Boobies: ARE YOU DOING IT?


Feel Your Boobies® was founded in 2004 after our Founder, Leigh Hurst, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33. She found her lump simply by “feeling her boobies”, not through a formal self-breast exam. What originally started as a few fun t-shirts she designed to remind her friends to “feel their boobies” has evolved into non-profit Foundation and international campaign focused on spreading this life saving message to young women using unexpected and unconventional methods.


Why use unexpected and unconventional methods? Well, based on Leigh’s experience, many young women tune out messages about breast cancer because they don’t believe they are at risk or the messages are too clinical. Here at Boobies Central, we know that research shows that simply “feeling your boobies” (aka “breast awareness) is just as effective at identifying lumps or other breast changes as the traditional step-by-step process of “breast self-exams”. And that’s exactly why we’re here -- to give you “a friendly reminder when you least expect it”. So get feeling girls, and remind a friend to do the same.

Leigh Hurst AHA MOMENT


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