Although the risk of breast cancer for teens is minimal, it is still beneficial to learn methods for doing a breast self-exam at an early age. Instilling a habit of doing a breast self-exam after menstruation has begun is excellent preventative medicine. There are a variety of ways for teens to do a breast self-exam, all of which are relatively simple and quick. Remember to note any changes by writing down the date of the breast self-exam, your observations and any questions. Bring this information to your doctor.
Make it a habit to look at your breasts in a mirror on the final days of your period. Stand under bright lights and examine your breasts in the mirror. Look for any irregularities in their appearance, including shape, size, texture and color. Inspect the area around the nipple for discoloration, bumps or discharge. Raise your arms over your head and bend forward and backward, looking for changes.
The most recommended technique for teens doing a breast self exam is to do it while lying down rather than while standing. In this position, you can be more thorough in checking the breast tissue. Begin with your right arm overhead. Use your left fingertips to press the tissue of the right breast in small circular motions. Begin with light pressure and graduate to firmer pressure. Work from the outside of the breast inward, extending from the ribs up to the collar bone. Do the same procedure on the left breast, using your right fingertips.
In the Shower
One supplementary technique for teens doing breast self-exams is to check the breast tissue in the shower. This method is convenient and the soap and water also can help your fingers slide around the breast area. Use the same method standing as lying down, with one arm over the head as the other hand checks the breast tissue. Use varying levels of pressure and remember to check your nipples. You can squeeze them to look for discharge.