Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Breast Cancer and the Breast Self-Exam

(continued)

How Do I Perform a Breast Self-Exam? continued...

Repeat steps 9, 10, and 11 on your other breast.

Interestingly, cancerous tumors are more likely to be found in certain parts of the breast over others. If you divide the breast into 4 sections, the approximate percentage of breast cancers found in each area are (in clockwise pattern):

  • 41% upper, outer quadrant
  • 14% upper, inner quadrant
  • 5% lower, inner quadrant
  • 6% lower, outer quadrant
  • 34% in the area behind the nipple

Almost half occur in the upper outer quadrant of the breast, towards the armpit. Some physicians refer to this region as the "tail" of the breast and encourage women to examine it closely.

What Should I Do If I Find a Lump?

See your health care provider if you discover any new breast changes. Conditions that should be checked by a doctor include:

  • An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast
  • A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle
  • A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast
  • A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea
  • A marble-like area under the skin
  • A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple (dimpled, puckered, scaly, or inflamed)
  • Bloody or clear fluid discharge from the nipples
  • Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple

 

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arnold Wax, MD on June 26, 2012
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
 
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
 
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
VIDEO
Resolved To Quit Smoking
SLIDESHOW
 
Woman getting mammogram
Article
Screening Tests for Women
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
serious woman
Article
 
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow
SLIDESHOW