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If you’re reading this, chances are you haven’t done a self-exam in months.
I’m 34, and I haven’t done one in 8 months. It’s WAY too easy to forget.
We’re smart women, we know why we should do them – so let’s talk about ways to remember and exactly what to do.
HOW TO REMEMBER:
1. What other monthly task do you ALWAYS remember?
Even if it seems unrelated or weird, add your self-exam to that process (i.e. changing air filters, heartworm meds for pets, mortgage payment). When you’re done with that task, go immediately to the bathroom (or right there in your kitchen) and take care of business.
2. Start undressing while looking in the mirror *gasp*
Just becoming aware of how your boobs look (without clothes on) will help you notice if something doesn’t look right. While you’re at it, say a little something nice to yourself instead of critiquing. If you catch yourself critiquing, pivot your thought to the desire for continual breast health (or continual healing/recovery).
3. Involve your bestie!
Help each other remember with texts and fun emojis – turn it into a game with boobie points (1 for each month you both do it) and when you’ve scored 12 points – treat yourselves to bestie brunch + bra shopping!
4. Get tech-y with it – yep there’s an app for this too!
Two Free Apps: CHECK YOURSELF and KNOW YOUR LEMONS both provide monthly reminder notifications and overall education mixed with some fun!
We ladies FORGET to do monthly breast exams (it's not that we don't want to do them)...get some real life tips for remembering #BCA Click To Tweet
HOW TO DO SELF-EXAMS:
Tips adapted from my amazing friend and women’s healthcare provider, Andie Wyrick, MSN, CNM
1. Most Importantly – know your boobs!
Touch them often, make them a normal part of your daily routine, look at them in the mirror when dressing/undressing – become besties with your boobies.
Here’s why: if you don’t know what normal feels and looks like, it’s hard to know what ISN’T normal for YOU. Some of us have cystic breasts, some have dense tissue, some squishy, some waterbed-like (*raises hand*). Get to know your boobs as well as you know your hands, eyelids, or lips.
2. Do the dangle test – lean over in front of your mirror, look at your hanging boobs:
- any pulling or puckering? (remember, doing this often gets you familiar)
- does your skin look like an orange peel, a bit dimply?
Yes to either of these or anything that doesn’t look like your normal – call your provider.
3. Use your fingertips, play the piano all over your breasts, areolas, and into your armpits!
Fingertips are more sensitive than using a “heavy handed” palm to smash around. Breast tissue extends all the way into the armpit – so get all up in it.
By the way, this is just as easy to do standing at the coffee pot in your kitchen as it is in the shower – so don’t let your location stop you when you remember.
4. Get your partner involved
They certainly won’t mind being asked to look at your boobs more! But beyond that, they notice things that sometimes we miss, can’t see, or haven’t been paying attention to for years. Ask them to speak up and be supportive of a trip to your provider, just to check it out.
Finally, when in doubt at all, call your provider.
Don’t google it, don’t forget about it, don’t assume it’s normal for you – if you’re not sure – call your provider. No hesitation. Promise?
What would you tell your best friend if she called and said “I’m not sure if I felt something weird on my last breast exam or not, it’s hard to tell”?
You would say, “just call your provider, get it checked out for some peace of mind and a baseline.” So, take that advice yourself.
Now, bras off ladies, get to checkin’!