The best way to find breast lumps is to do 3 things:
- Have regular mammograms (usually every 2 years starting at age 50. If you are under 50, talk to your doctor about your risk factors for breast cancer, including your family history, to decide whether regular mammogram screenings are appropriate for you).
- Have your doctor check your breasts.
- Check your breasts yourself every month.
How do I check for lumps?
Start by standing in front of a mirror. Look at your breasts with your arms at your side, with your arms raised behind your head, and with your arms on your hips and your chest muscles flexed.
Next, lie down with a pillow under your left shoulder. Put your left hand behind your head and feel your left breast with the pads of the 3 middle fingers on your right hand. Start at the outer edge and work around your breast in small circles, getting closer to your nipple with each circle. After you've finished checking your breast, squeeze your nipple gently and look for discharge (fluid coming out of the nipple).
Do the same thing to your right breast with a pillow under your right shoulder.
Be sure to include the area up to your collarbone and out to your armpit. You have lymph nodes in this area. Cancer can spread to lymph node tissue.