How to detect breast cancer with self-calpation?

Comment détecter le cancer du sein avec l'autopalpation ?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. If diagnosed early, breast cancer has a good chance of being cured.

Certain screening procedures can only be carried out by a health professional: mammography or clinical breast examination. However, it is important to be alert to your body's signals, so as to be able to detect the early signs of breast cancer. Early detection of breast cancer is very important, because the earlier it is detected, the better it will be treated.

How do I perform a breast self-examination?

  • During the examination, make sure you're in a position that allows you to see your breasts clearly. Put yourself in a natural position (with your arms at your side and your back straight), so that you can spot any asymmetries in your breasts. Make sure you have a mirror in front of you. Visual examination is just as important as palpation, which is not enough.

  • Visual examination: simply look at your breasts in the mirror to detect any abnormal nipple discharge, spots, cracks, folds, scabs, scales or anything else that might be unusual. For the visual examination, it is also advisable to adopt several postures. (arms at sides, arms raised, hands on hips, leaning forward, lying on side)

  • Self-palpation of the breasts: simply raise your left arm and gently palpate your left breast with your right hand: from the outside inwards, looking for lumps, pain or itching. Do the same for the area between the breast and the armpit, then for the armpit itself. You can then repeat the operation on the right breast.

  1. Nipple self-examination: gently squeeze the nipple to check for discharge. If there's a discharge when you're not pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a health professional. If your nipple is painful, inflamed or retracted in on itself, consult a health professional!

We also advise you to examine the area between the two breasts.

There are 3 different palpation methods:

  • Vertical palpation: palpation is performed from top to bottom, starting at the top of the armpit.

  • Radial palpation: in straight lines, starting from your nipple, towards the outside of the breast.

  • The circular palpation method: making a spiral from the top of the armpit to the nipple.

What are the warning signs of breast cancer?

There are a number of warning signs, such as: redness, discharge, visible lumps or bumps, sunken or retracted nipples, skin texture deterioration, changes in breast size or shape, areola color changes, persistent eczema or ulceration of the nipple, enlarged lymph nodes, thickening or hardening of the skin.

When and how often should self palpation be performed?

Ideally, self palpation should be carried out every month, a few days after the end of your period, or on a fixed date if you're menopausal. The examination is recommended for all women, regardless of age (because even though breast cancer is rarer, it can also affect young women).

Self palpation is therefore an important habit to get into. However, in no way does it replace regular visits to your gynecologist, primary care physician or midwife.

For the whole month of October, Elia is committed to Pink October! To mark the occasion, we've created a very limited edition of our Simone menstrual panties to support the Pink October campaign and the Marie Curie Institute.

50% of our profits will be donated to breast cancer research.

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The information contained in the articles on is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.