Breast Self-exams

A breast self-exam is an important type of preventive self-care that you can do at home

At LVHN and Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, we offer prevention-focused mammogram services as well as world-class breast cancer care for women of all stages of life.

During the COVID-19 outbreak and always, we want to remind you how important it is to continue good health practices, which include breast self-exams. Women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and should report any changes to a health care provider right away. Breast self-exams do not replace an exam by your provider. If you find anything abnormal, contact your primary care provider.

How to perform a breast self-exam correctly

Step 1

Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your hands on your hips. 

Here’s what you should look for:

  • Breasts that are their usual size, shape and color
  • Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling

If you see any of these changes, contact your physician:

  • Dimpling, puckering or bulging of the skin
  • A change in your nipple that includes the position or an inverted nipple
  • Redness, soreness and swelling

Step 2

Raise your arms and look for the same changes listed above.

Step 3

Look for any signs of fluid or discharge coming out of one or both nipples.

Step 4 

Feel your breasts while lying down. Use your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Using the first few finger pads of your hand, use a circular motion and cover your entire breast from top to bottom and side to side. Follow a pattern to make sure you cover the entire breast. 

Step 5

Some women find the easiest way to perform a breast self-exam is while in the shower. Use the same steps as explained in step 4 and make sure you cover your entire breast.

Schedule your mammogram

At LVHN, it’s easy to get a mammogram. If you are at least 40 years old and haven't had a mammogram in the last 365 days, you don't need a prescription or provider referral. Call us at 888-402-LVHN (5846) or schedule your mammogram online.

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