Your Monthly Breast Exam (Infographic)

Looking for Lumps

Mammograms don’t catch everything.

“It’s well established in the medical community that mammograms miss about 10 — 15 percent of palpable masses in the breast,” says Northwestern Medicine Breast Surgeon Denise Monahan, MD. “That’s why it’s important to do a monthly self-examination of your breasts.”

While most lumps are not cancerous, if you feel something, you should let your physician know immediately. You know your breasts best. If you feel something out-of-the-ordinary, trust your intuition and see your physician.

“There have been multiple studies that show it’s not important how you do a self breast exam, so much as it is that you do it regularly,” adds Dr. Monahan. “Normal breast tissue can be nodular and lumpy. The more you get to know it, the better equipped you’ll be to identify changes.”

While technique doesn’t matter as much as simply being aware of changes, here are some tips for giving yourself a monthly breast exam.

After all, research shows that 57 percent of breast cancer survivors detected breast cancer from methods other than mammograms, including through self-examination (25 percent) and accidentally (18 percent).

nm-breast-exam_infographic Download Your Monthly Breast Exam (Infographic)