Breast Self Exam
Breast self-exam (BSE) is a tool that can help you become familiar with the way your breasts normally look and feel. It’s important to know what is normal for you, so that you can notice and feel changes in your breasts. If you observe any of the warning signs of breast cancer listed below, see your health care provider right away.
- Lump, hard knot or thickening
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
- New pain in one spot that does not go away
Whether in front of the mirror or even in the shower, check yourself monthly. It takes just a few minutes, costs nothing, and plays an important role in the early detection of abnormalities and breast cancer.
Use the pads of your three middle fingers. Begin in your armpit, using small circular motions with varying degrees of pressure, and examine your entire breast area.
Move your fingers up and down over your entire breast area, from the collarbone to below the breast and side-to-side, from your breast bone to your arm pit.
Examine your breasts with hands at sides, then clasped overhead. Look for changes in size or shape or nipple changes. Squeeze both nipples between thumb and forefinger to check for discharge. Then press hands on hips and push elbows forward to tighten chest muscles. Look for dimpling, puckering, redness, scaliness or any changes in shape, size, texture, or skin color.
Click here to download a Breast Self-Exam Card. Print this and keep it at home for easy reference.