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How to check your breasts

It’s important to check your breasts regularly. This is sometimes called being breast aware. This means learning how your breasts look and feel at different times. Doing this helps you to know what is normal for you and to recognise any unusual or irregular changes.

Being breast aware is important from your mid-twenties onwards.

Breast self-exam

Step 1

Look for changes in the appearance of your breast. Stand and look in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your hands on your hips.

Drawing of a woman standing in front of a mirror with her shoulders straight and her hands on her hips.
Stand in front of the mirror with your shoulders straight and your hands on your hips.

Step 2

Raise your arms and look for changes in appearance. Check nipples for changes or discharge.

Drawing of a woman standing in front of a mirror with her arms over her head.
Raise your hands over your head and look for changes in your breasts.

Step 3

Feel your breasts. Use your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast.

Keep your fingers flat and together. Using a circular motion, cover your entire breast from top to bottom and side to side. Move your hand from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

Drawing of a woman lying on her back checking her left breast with her right hand using a circular motion
While lying on your back, check your breast with your hand using a circular motion.

You may find it easier to feel your breasts when your skin is wet and slippery so you prefer to do this step in the shower.

Drawing of a woman standing in a hot shower with her left arm raised using her right hand to check her left breast using a circular motion.
You may find it easier to check your breasts in the shower.

Related topics

Breast pain

Breast lumps

This content was supplied by breastcancer.org.

page last reviewed: 02/10/2019
next review due: 02/10/2022