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In addition to our full range of screenings (including 3-D mammography), we offer free breast self-exam classes to the community.

Free Breast Self-Exam Classes

Our breast cancer nurse navigator teaches the breast self-exam classes at the Blessing Breast Center. We use the MammaCare Method® of breast self-examination.

During the breast self-exam class, you will get a chance to practice on lifelike breast models. You’ll learn the difference between the texture of normal tissue and that of lumps. The goal is to help you become familiar with your breasts so that you can promptly report changes to your healthcare provider. To learn when the next class is, register, or to set up a class for your group of 5 to 10 women, call us at (217) 223-8400, ext. 4284.

The Blessing Breast Center is located in the Blessing Health Center 

How to Do a Breast Self-Exam at Home

Though breast self-exam is not a substitute for mammography or for regular exams by a healthcare professional, we still recommend doing a monthly breast self-exam at home.

For most women, the best time for the exam is about one week after the start of your period.

The 2 ways to check your breasts include:

  • Look: Use a mirror to check breasts for pulls, dents, odd coloring or lumps. The best positions for inspecting your breasts are leaning forward, arms on hips tightly, and standing upright with both arms over your head. Keep in mind that both breasts should look the same, especially around the nipple.

  • Feel: There are two ways to do this part of the exam, and in both of these ways, the little skin lumps and bumps are less noticeable. It is best to use a different method each month:

    • Method 1 is to use water or oil to help your fingers glide over the skin more easily. (The shower can be a good place for this kind of exam.)

    • Method 2 is to use a thin t-shirt or bed sheet over your breasts.

Keep these tips in mind as you feel your breasts:

  • Check your breast in two or three positions, such as lying down, standing up and leaning forward.

  • Use the pad surface of the fingers, not the tips, to move the breast. Divide the exam into parts, the way you would divide a pie.

  • Examine one part from the outside of the breast into the nipple, and then from the inside to the outer edge. Make sure to examine all the way into the armpit.

  • Remember that the nipple is important, too. There is less breast tissue right under the nipple, so any lump there is a concern. Squeezing your nipple hard can cause a discharge, so keep your exam gentle. Notice any discharge that happens naturally. Tell your healthcare provider if you notice any blood from the nipple.

  • Feel the breast tissue for any areas that feel different from the rest of the breast. Sometimes a difference will be a ball or lump. It could also be a thickened band or a deep, hard area that does not move like the rest of the breast.

Contact Us

To register for a breast self-exam class, please call the Breast Center at (217) 223-8400, ext. 4284.