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You may perform monthly breast self-exams to check for any changes in your breasts. It is important to remember that changes can occur because of aging, your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, or taking birth control pills or other hormones. It is normal for breasts to feel a little lumpy and uneven. Also, it is common for your breasts to be swollen and tender right before or during your menstrual period. Breast self-exams cannot replace regular screening mammograms and clinical breast exams. Studies have not shown that breast self-exams alone reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer.
What to look for:
Looks for differences in size or shape between your breasts.
The skin of your breasts is checked for a rash, dimpling, or other abnormal signs.
Check for fluid when nipples are squeezed.
Using the pads of the fingers to feel for lumps checks your entire breast, underarm, and collarbone area.
Checks the lymph nodes near the breast to see if they are enlarged
Source: National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health. www.cancer.gov
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