Touch, Look, Check: Be Breast Cancer Aware

Touch, Look, Check: Be Breast Cancer Aware

You can perform breast visual and physical self-tests on yourself regularly to detect breast cancer early. Although this is not a definitive test, it is a valuable tool to detect breast cancer early.

Adult women are encouraged to perform self-tests at least once a month. This self-test is so that you become familiar with how your breasts usually feel and look. This makes it easier for you to identify any changes within yourself. Do not delay in reporting any changes or concerns to your healthcare provider.

N.B. If menstruating, perform the self-test a couple of days after finishing your period. If post-menopausal, perform a self-test around the same time each month.

How to perform a breast self-exam?

In front of a mirror

With your arms to your sides, visually inspect your breasts in the mirror. Do the shape, colour, and size look different to normal? Are there any changes to the nipples or nipple area?

When in the shower

Apply light-firm pressure across the entire breast and armpit area using the flat part of the inside of your three middle fingers. Repeat for both breasts.

When lying down flat on your back

When you lie down, the breast tissue will be spread out. Prop your right shoulder on a pillow and lie with your right arm under your head. Using the flat part of the inside of the three middle fingers of your left hand, apply light—firm pressure across the entire right breast and armpit area. Repeat for the left breast. Lightly squeeze the nipple to check for any fluid.

Self- checks vs mammograms

It is important to note that although self-checks are useful, they do not always successfully detect tumours. Self-checks should not replace mammograms or X-rays.

Where can I get more information?

National Breast Cancer Foundation

Breast Cancer Now

Macmillan Cancer