How To Perform a Self-Breast-Exam

A woman should have an annual mammogram once she turns 45. However, it is still important for younger women to be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel. “To be proactive about their health, women under the age of 45 should make it a priority to know their body, especially their breasts,” said Maria Cumba, MD. “That’s where performing a monthly self-check can help.”

How to perform a self-breast-exam:

1. Face a mirror with shoulders straight and arms on hips. Look for changes in size, shape, or color as well as changes to the skin or nipple.
2. Repeat with arms raised.
3. Lie down on a flat surface. Use your right hand to feel your left breast. Using the pads of your fingers, go in a circular motion around an area about the size of a quarter. Start at the nipple and cover your entire breast.
4. Repeat using your left hand to check your right breast.
5. Repeat while sitting or standing. You might find it easier to do this part in the shower.

What if I find something?

“If you are concerned with something you felt during your self-breast-exam, visit your doctor,” said Dr. Cumba. Your doctor may schedule a mammogram, which will be scored using the numbers zero through six.

How to read a mammogram BI-RADS score

The following are what each number of the BI-RADS score means:

0 – The results are inconclusive, or the radiologist wants another image for comparison.
1 – No abnormalities were detected.
2 – Anything found, like cysts or calcifications, were benign.
3 – Findings are probably benign.
4 – An abnormality was found that could be cancerous but is most likely not.
5 – A tumor was identified with a 95 percent chance of being cancerous. You’ll need a biopsy.
6 – A cancerous tumor has been confirmed.

How can I learn more?

To access more information regarding McLaren’s Breast Clinic, visit