RWJ Health Connect | Patient PortalGo
  • 1-888-MD-RWJUH
  • YouTube

Breast Self Examination

10 Easy Steps for Monthly Breast Exams

In Front of a Mirror:

  1. Inspect both breasts with your arms at your sides.
  2. Raise your arms slowly, paying close attention to any swelling, or change in your breast or nipples.
  3. Place hands on your hips, flex your chest muscles and again visually compare both breasts.

In the Shower

  1. Extend right arm upward and examine right breast.
  2. Extend left arm upward and examine left breast.

On the Bed

  1. Lie down on a bed or floor on your back.
  2. Insert your pillow under your right shoulder so that your right breast is flat.
  3. Examine your right breast with right arm under head.
  4. Insert your pillow under your left shoulder so that your left breast is flat.
  5. Examine your left breast with left arm under head.


For monthly breast exams, use the fingertips of your three middle fingers to feel your breast. Always use your left hand for your right breast. Use your right hand for your left breast.

Examine from your neck, under your arm, down across your ribcage and up the breastbone using three methods:

  • A circular motion in an oval pattern.
  • A vertical motion in a rectangle pattern.
  • A wedge motion (from the nipple out) in an oval pattern.

Check for any lumps, hard knots, swelling, dimpling or thickening. Observe for abnormal change of size, shape, color or discharge.