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5 steps to self breast-exam success

5 steps to self breast-exam success

During October, the world is covered in pink. And we’re grateful. Because what’s the norm today has been a slow progression of awareness, fundraising and research for breast cancer prevention, treatment and awareness. It’s a color of hope for a cure and a sense of community. Of course, when the month ends, we still have to be mindful. My annual mammogram happened to hit in the middle of October. And a few days later I got a letter that brought a sigh of relief—my exam was negative for abnormalities, but also came with a set of bullet points about guidelines from the American College of Radiology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines:

  • Annual screening mammography at the age of 40
  • Annual physical examination by your physician
  • Monthly breast self-examination

Self-examination. It comes back to me doing my part. And I know I’m not doing it regularly. I know should do better. Because women often are the first to find an abnormality. I did my research and learned that a woman should do her exam 7-10 days after her menstrual cycle starts. Now how to remind myself? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Download Keep a Breast’s Check Yourself! app and schedule a monthly reminder.
  2. Print out this Breast Self-Exam Shower Card from Healthy Women and keep it in a drawer you regularly use so it’s top of mind each day.
  3. More responsive to texts? Bright Pink will text you every month with a Breast Health Reminder.
  4. Another friend puts a bright pink fragrant sachet in her bra drawer. When she opens it each morning, she’s reminded that she should be checking her breasts regularly.
  5. Maybe it’s just scheduling an appointment with yourself on your calendar.

It’s simple but it’s powerful. I’m starting this new healthy habit today. I hope you do too!

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