Getting Started

Start with a visual exam. Look in the mirror with your arms over your head and then with your hands on your hips being sure to check both the front of your breasts as well as the sides and ask yourself: Do my breasts look the same? Are my nipples the same shape? Are there any indentions, bruises or bulges? Is there any discharge coming from my nipples? Are the veins more noticeable on one breast than the other?

Step 01

Next, lie down on your back with one hand behind your head. This flattens the breast tissue against the chest wall and makes it easier to evaluate. Use the pads of your three middle fingers from your opposite hand to examine each breast.

Step 02

Move your three fingers in dime-sized circles. Do three circles in one spot, starting with light pressure, then medium and lastly use deeper pressure. Now “walk” your fingers to the next area. Do not lift your fingers off your breast, “walk” them to the next spot.

Step 03

Starting at your breast bone, work your way down your breast and back following the arrows. Continue to do dime-sized circles, moving into the armpit area continuing all the way into the inside of your arm. Your last line will be up your side just below the outer edge of your breast, finishing on the inside of your armpit.

Step 04

Be sure to spend extra time in the armpit. It's important to go all the way to the inner arm area to make sure you cover all the lymphatic systems in your armpit and arm area, as this is where many breast cancers develop. Repeat these steps for both breasts.

Step 05

Lastly, gently squeeze each nipple. You are looking for any discharge or pain. Some women normally have breast tenderness around the time of their period. The best time to check your breasts is about a week after your period ends. It’s important you check at the same time every month. Remember you are looking for differences from what is normal to you. The more you get in the habit of checking your breasts the more you know what is "normal" for you.

If you notice any changes,
see your doctor right away


Love Your Boobies!

Attitude

First, it is important to change your relationship with your breasts. Many women develop a negative attitude towards their breasts and put much energy into criticizing their breasts and wishing they were different somehow. It is important to appreciate, respect, and love your breasts just as they are; regardless of their shape or size.

Awareness

Know your Body. Know your breasts. Knowledge is power. Give your breasts daily massages. During these massages, send positive messages to your breasts. Thank your breasts for being an amazingly important and beautiful part of you and for the vital role they play in your body. During these daily breast massages, become familiar with the contours of your breasts. This will help you to become familiar with what is “normal” for you when you are checking your self! Even if you have breast implants, you should massage and perform an exam each month.

Action

Perform your breast exam thoroughly and once a month. We recommend starting at the age you first receive your period. If you find your breasts to be very lumpy and bumpy, notice a change, something feels strange or different in your breasts – see a doctor right away! Most breast lumps or changes in your breasts are not cancer. However, if a lump is cancerous, it’s best to find it as soon as possible. Never let anyone tell you that you are “too young for breast cancer” because that is not true.

The mission

The Keep A Breast Foundation™ is the leading youth-focused, global, nonprofit breast cancer organization. Our mission is to eradicate breast cancer for future generations. We provide support programs for young people impacted by cancer and educate about prevention, early detection, and cancer-causing toxins in our everyday environment.

The Keep A Breast Foundation™ is headquartered in the United States as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit. We are supported in fulfilling our mission by international partners Keep A Breast Canada, Keep A Breast Europe, and Keep A Breast Japan.