Cochise Oncology

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How to Perform a Self Breast Exam

For many women, breast cancer is a worry. That’s why it is critical to perform a self breast exam – a procedure that can let you know whether you see a doctor at Cochise Oncology.

Why Perform a Self Breast Exam?

According to figures, one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives. It can be a life-threatening condition, but, if caught early enough, it is also highly treatable. 

Self breast exams are critical because they let you determine whether you should seek medical assistance. You will often find lumps on your breasts before any other symptoms of cancer become obvious. 

Steps for Self Breast Exams:

Here are the steps for a self breast exam: 

Visual Signs

Start by looking at your breasts in the mirror with shoulders straight and hands on your hips. Look for any signs of unusual size, shape or color. Check that your breasts do not have any swelling or distortion. 

If you notice dimpling, puckering or excessive bulging of the skin, you may need to contact us. Also come and see us if you notice an inverted nipple or one that has changed position. 

Arms Raised

The next step is to raise your arms above your head and look for the same changes again. Pay close attention to any fluid coming out of the nipples. It may appear reddish, like blood, yellow, watery or milky. Also, check the breasts for new raches or sore patches. 

Lying Down

After that, check your breasts while lying down. This position will give you a new angle to examine them. 

Take your hand and begin to push into the opposite breast, keeping the fingers close together. Move it in a circular motion, around the size of a quarter, paying attention to any lumps and bumps. Repeat this process until you cover the entirety of both breasts. The area you examine should run from the outer edge of the breast to the cleavage, including the under-breast area and attachment to the armpit. 

Self-Check in the Shower

Lastly, you may want to perform a final check in the shower while your breasts are wet and slippery. Just repeat the lying down process described above while standing, being sure to cover the entire area. 


Simply fill out the form on this page to request an appointment and one of our knowledgable team members will reach out to you. Or call our Sierra Vista oncology center to schedule directly at (520) 803-6644.

When Should You Contact an Oncologist?

If you discover a lump, it’s no reason to panic. Most women have bumpy connective tissue under their breasts. 

However, if you detect changes or additional growths over time, you should contact Cochise Oncology for a checkup. 

Benefits of Self Breast Exams

Regular breast exams let you discover the contours of your body. You’re able to build up a mental “map” of what your breasts should feel like so you can keep track of changes. You’re not just looking for lumps, but also changes in thickness and texture. Catching symptoms gives you peace of mind and enhances the effectiveness of treatment


*Individual Results May Vary


At Cochise Oncology, we know optimal cancer treatment places the patient first – and our patients experience this every day. Read what our satisfied patients are saying about their experiences at Cochise Oncology.

Take the Next Step

Are you ready to learn more about breast exams? Reach out to Cochise Oncology at (520) 803-6644 or fill out the consultation form on this page. We look forward to meeting you!

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