Performing a Breast Self-Exam

By knowing how your breasts normally look and feel and reporting any changes to a health-care professional, you can take charge of your health.

Breast Self-Exam (BSE)

Take matters into your own hands by conducting regular, monthly breast self-exams to detect early breast cancer. The best time to examine your breasts is when the breasts are not tender or swollen. It's also a good idea to have your BSE technique reviewed during periodic health exams. Women with breast implants also can do BSE. Just ask the surgeon to identify the edges of the implant so that you know what you're feeling.

  • In the Shower: Using the pads of the tips of your fingers, gently press and feel around the entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center. Check both breasts and armpit area for any lump, thickening or hardened knot.
  • In Front of a Mirror: Stand in front of a mirror with your hands pressed firmly down on your hips. Look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin.
  • Lying Down: Lie down on your back and place a pillow under your right shoulder and put your right arm above your head. When you lie down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it easier to feel all the breast tissue. Reach over with your left hand and gently press the pads of your fingers around your right breast, moving in small circular motions. Use light, medium and firm pressure along the entire breast and armpit area. Repeat these steps for your left breast

Patient Stories

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Patient Stories

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