Step 4: Feel for Breast Lumps While Lying Down
Next, check for breast lumps or abnormalities by feeling your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast, and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Press down with your fingers and move them in a circular motion that’s about the size of a quarter (or an inch around). “You are feeling for small masses the size of a tiny bead or lymph nodes that would feel like a lima bean,” says Dr. Delucia.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side—from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage. Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women.
Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.
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