How to Conduct an At-Home Breast Exam

by Haley Rosenberg

Performing at-home breast exams are extremely important. Did you know that 40% of all breast cancer is initially discovered by people performing their own breast exams? That’s pretty girlboss, if you ask me.

You should always be touching your boobs—all the time. I’m holding my boob as I type this. They’re squishy, they’re fun, they give milk to babies, and they have nipples that poke through my white shirts and make older people uncomfortable. Truly amazing stuff. But how do you touch your boobs in a thoughtful, meaningful way? I’m not talking about a one-night-stand Tinder match slappin’ those things around. I want you to make deep, sensual contact with your tits like they are a sexy bunion, and you just took off your shoe ;).

The Mirror

Let’s start in front of the mirror. While I generally spend 4-6 hours standing naked in front of a mirror, silently admiring myself, I also allot a minute or two of that “me time” to visually checking my breasts for abnormalities. You should make sure to get a front and side view before raising your arms above your head, which will then show you any changes in shape, swelling, the shape of the nipple, or the appearance of dimples. Sexy stuff, let’s keep going!

The Shower

Let’s get physical—in the shower. Starting with the left breast, first, raise your left arm behind your head. Then, using the pads of your middle three fingers, apply pressure, starting from the armpit area traveling towards the nipple, pushing into the breast tissue as you move laterally to feel for any lumps. Repeat on the other side with your right arm up instead, and make sure to feel around the armpit area as well for any hard knots or abnormalities.

Lying Down

When you lay down, your breast tissue is the most evenly spread out across your chest wall. When checking your right breast, you’ll want to put a pillow under your right shoulder and have your right arm raised above your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your middle fingers across your right breast from armpit to sternum. Throw in some circles, vertical lines, and any other circuits that will guarantee full breast coverage, as well as some nipple play to test for any discharge.

If you find a lump, make sure to contact your doctor, but be aware that 8 out of 10 lumps are non-cancerous. Also, breasts can feel especially hard and lumpy when your period is approaching, so it’s wise to be aware of the fluctuations your body goes through and to remember what’s normal for you and what’s not.

That’s basically it! Just some tender love and care that could potentially save your life, and who doesn’t love that?