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  • It does not matter where you do the examination.
  • You can do in the shower, on the bed, in front of the mirror …
  • You can also do it sitting down, standing up, or lying down.
  • Lying down is most advised, because the breast then falls flat and is easier to examine.
  • Select the position you feel most comfortable in. 

You examine your breasts by looking and by feeling.

Looking at your breasts is done in two steps.

Step one: 

  • Stand in front of the mirror with your arms alongside your body.
  • Look at their size and shape, and look for skin variations such as dents or dimples. Is there any redness, swelling or wrinkling? 
  • Also look at your nipples: did you recently develop an inverted nipple? Are there any lesions, flakes or nipple discharges (watery, milky, green in colour or bloody)?

Step two:

  • Lift your hands above your head, so that the bottom half of your breast is better visible.
  • Look for the same variations.

If you notice any anomalies during steps 1 or 2 of the visual examination, please contact your doctor.            

There are two methods of feeling: the line method and the circle method. 

Both are effective. Try them both to find out which is most convenient for you.

For both methods it is important to assume a good starting position: 

  • Lie down.
  • Put one hand behind your head and use your other hand for the examination.
  • Use your three middle fingers to feel for anomalies in your breasts and armpit area.

The line method

  • Put your fingers in your armpit.
  • Descend slowly to the bottom part of the breast.
  • Afterwards, move your fingers a little aside and go back up. 
  • Repeat this until you have gone over the entire breast and armpit area. 

The circle method

  • Put your fingers of on top of the breast and rub the breast in concentric circles proceeding towards the nipple.
  • After that, rub the armpit area.


  • Whenever you detect an anomaly during the visual or manual examination, do consult your doctor. If necessary, you will be forwarded for a mammographic and/or ultrasonographic examination.
  • Between the ages of 50 and 69, women in Belgium are invited for a free mammogram every other year. This is to trace cancer at an early stage.