Monthly breast exams are recommended for all women age 20 and over. By regularly checking your breasts for lumps, coloration or changes, you have a much greater chance of spotting any differences early on, and consequently the opportunity to treat any irregularities before they become a serious health problem. Try both of these basic methods:
Stand in front of the mirror and examine your breasts. Note the colors, textures and appearance of the skin. Look for any changes, such as dimpling around the nipple. Raise your arm above your head. Press your fingertips firmly into your breast and rotate in small circles, checking for lumps. Make sure to cover the whole breast, from your cleavage to your armpit. Gently squeeze the nipple, and check for any color discharge. Repeat on your other breast.
Place a pillow under your upper back and place your left hand behind your head. Using your right hand, rub your left breast in small circles. Start by pressing gently to feel for surface bumps, and then press more firmly to feel for lumps in the muscle tissue. Repeat on your other breast.
Checking things out at the same time each month will help you more accurately observe any changes. Tell your doctor if you notice any lumps, discharge or coloration.