Getting to know your breasts goes deeper than the outer appearance. Giving breast self-exams at least four times a year is a good way to monitor any changes in the breast tissue that could indicate breast cancer.
According to Trubow, you should be feeling for a pebble or frozen pea-like lump. “It’s often something you can feel from all angles and doesn’t disappear from one direction,” she says. “It’s usually on the harder side, and either mobile (moves around) but can also be fixed in place.”
If you’re someone with naturally lumpy breast tissue (aka fibrocystic breasts), to help distinguish this from something more concerning, Trubow says harmless lumps will generally be felt from one direction, but not palpable from another direction.
“If you are menstruating, the best thing to do is examine your breasts a few days after your period ends when you are least tender, lumpy, and bumpy,” Gilberg-Lenz adds. “You will always know yourself the best! If you feel or see something different in the skin, nipple, under your arms/axilla, see your doc.”