Check your breasts

It’s important to know your normal and check your breasts regularly.

There’s no ‘right’ way to check your breasts. It’s all about getting to know what’s normal for you – how your breasts usually look and feel – and checking regularly for any unusual changes.

The best time to check your breasts is usually the week after your period, when your breasts aren’t as tender or lumpy. You can set a monthly reminder on our app Pre Check.

Check out the tips below...

Video

Checked your breasts lately?
We’ll show you how.

How do I check my own breasts

It’s as simple as TLC – Touch, Look, Check. Tap the icons below to learn about each step.

Self-checking is about feeling for changes that aren’t normal for you. This may be a lump, thickened area, or anything that feels totally different from any other area in your breasts.

In the shower or bath

In the shower or bath

It may be easier to check your breasts while you’re in the shower or bath, as your hands are wet. This makes it easier to slide your hand over your breasts.

An easy way to check your breasts is to:

  1. Raise one arm above your head.
  2. With the flat of your fingers press into your breast, feeling for any changes, softly at first and then more firmly.
  3. Check the entire breast area, from your collarbone to under your breast, and from the side of your breast up into your armpit. A good way to do this is to move your hands over your breasts, in an up and down or in a circular motion. This is an easy way to make sure you’ve checked the whole area.
  4. Repeat on the other breast
Lying down

Lying down

If you have larger breasts, it may be easier to check when you’re lying down so your breast tissue is flatter.

  1. Place a folded towel underneath one shoulder and put your arm above your head.
  2. Using your other hand, check all over your breast, including the nipple, up to the collarbone and under your arm. Swap the towel to your other shoulder and repeat on the other side.

This is a very important part of checking your breasts as some breast cancers are detected by visual signs such as skin changes, change in shape, new nipple inversion, dimpling on the skin or crusting on the nipple. Be aware of any discharge coming from the nipple (without squeezing).

Look

With your hands on your hips, look at your breasts in a mirror. Notice their shape, colour and size. Then raise your arms above your head to check underneath the breast.

Check out the video above for more information on how to self-check.

It can be scary to find a change that doesn’t feel or look normal, but it’s important to get any concerning signs checked out by your GP, even if you’ve had a mammogram recently.

Most breast changes aren’t caused by cancer but check with your doctor to be sure. If you’ve had a breast change checked out by your GP and they aren’t concerned but it continues to grow or change, it’s important to go back and have it checked again or seek a second opinion.

If you’re not sure about talking to your GP, tell someone you trust, like a girlfriend or your mum. They can support you to see your GP. BCFNZ also has nurses available, who can give you free advice. Get in touch at 0800 226 8773 or breastnurse@bcf.org.nz.