The self breast exam. The 5 minutes it will take out of our day is totally worth it. Suck it up and just do it. It saves lives.

First, lets get the important stuff out of the way. According to Web MD, many breast problems are first discovered by us, often on accident. Since we all look at ourselves anyway, if you notice some type of change in your breasts or if you feel a lump, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer, but it is necessary to consult your doctor immediately. Once you know what your breasts normally look and feel like, any new lump or change in appearance should be evaluated by a doctor. Don’t replace seeing your doctor regularly with self breast exams. Begin or keep doing both. Early detection is the best fight against breast cancer!

Who’s ready for some fun? The best time to do your exam is when your breasts aren’t tender, which is usually after our cycles. Follow these three simple tests, and remember, if you are ever unsure just pick up the phone and make an appointment. You can never bee too cautious!

Step 1: Remove your clothing from the waist up.

Step 2: Lie down and place your right arm behind your head. You’ll complete the exam with only three fingers: index, middle and ring finger.

Step 3: Using pressure from your three fingers, feel the breast tissue. Feel all of the tissue from your collar bone to your bra line in small circular motions.

It’s important to remember that all breasts have some lumps or thick tissue. As always, you should pay attention to any lump that seems harder than the rest of your breast and consult with your doctor. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a self breast exam once a month. It’s not painful, doesn’t require equipment and it hardly takes any time. There is no excuse to take this at-home test lightly. For more information, check out Breast Awareness and Self-Exams from the American Cancer Society.