Breast Cancer Awareness: Breast Self-Exams Providence OB/GYN Blog Oct 13 2014 Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform breast self-exams at least once a month. According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.” While mammograms can help you to detect cancer before you can feel a lump, breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes. Breast Self-Exams In the Shower: Using your fingers, move around your breast in a circular pattern. Start on the outside near the armpit and move toward the center. Feel for a lump, hardened knot or breast tissue thickening. In Front of a Mirror: Performing a test in front of a mirror allows you to visually inspect your breasts for any changes. Raise your arms overhead and look for swelling, dimpling or changes in the nipple. Next, place your hands on your hips and flex your chest muscles. While the breasts will not exactly match, look for any unusual differences. Lying Down: Lying down spreads the breast tissue evenly along the chest. Place a pillow under your shoulder and perform a check with your fingers using the same technique as the shower test. Clinical Breast Exams at Providence OB/GYN If you find a lump, schedule an appointment with your doctor, but don't panic — 8 out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. For additional peace of mind, call your doctor whenever you have concerns. Women aged 20 to 39 should receive a breast exam from their OB/GYN every three years. It is recommended that women aged 40 and above receive a breast exam and mammogram every year. At Providence OB/GYN, our physicians work with you to keep you as healthy as possible. For more information about breast cancer early detection or to set up an appointment, please call 704-372-4000. Our office hours are: Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can also visit us on MyChart.