BREAST SELF-EXAM (BSE)
All women 20 years of age and older should
perform BSE each month, two to three days after your period or on the same date
each month if you no longer have periods. Monthly BSE helps you learn the way
your breasts normally look and feel and allows you to notice changes. The
following changes are usually not cancer but should be reported to your health
- A lump or thickening in or near your breast or
under your arm
- A change in the size or shape of your
- A discharge from your nipple that occurs
- A change in the color or feel of the skin on
your breasts, areola or nipple (dimpled, puckered or scaly)
Instructions for BSE
Monthly Breast Self-Exam
|Look For Changes
Hands at side. Compare for symmetry. Look for changes in:
Hands over head.
Check front and side view for:
Hands on hips, press down, bend forward.
Feel For Changes
Lie down with a towel under right shoulder; raise right arm above the head.
Examine area from:
underarm to lower bra line
across to breast bone
up to collar bone
back to armpit
Use the pads of the three middle fingers of the left hand. Hold hand in bowed
position. Move fingers in dime-sized circles.
Use three levels of pressure:
Examine entire area using vertical strip pattern.
Be sure to examine both breasts
in the same way.
If there are any lumps,
knots or changes,
tell your doctor right away.
Clinical Breast Exam (CBE)
A CBE should be a part of every yearly health
exam for women 20 years of age and older. During the CBE, your doctor or nurse
will carefully feel your breasts and under your arms checking for lumps and
other changes. During the CBE, your health care provider can show you the
correct way to perform a breast self-exam, if you ask for help.
To find out if youre eligible for free mammograms,
A mammogram is a low dose X-ray that shows the
inside of your breasts. Women 40 years of age and older should have a test
every year. Do not wear deodorant, perfume, lotion or powder on the morning of
your mammogram. You will be asked to remove your clothes from the waist up and
put on a gown, so wear a blouse or sweater that you can take off easily.
During a mammogram, two smooth, flat plastic
plates are placed around one of your breasts to flatten your breast tissue.
Flattening your breast provides the best exam using the lowest dose X-ray. Two
or more X-rays will be taken of each breast. The pressure of the plates may
cause your breasts to ache and possibly some minor bruising. Any aching or
bruising should disappear shortly. If you have periods, have your mammogram
during the week after your period when your breasts are less tender.
The doctor who reads your mammogram will want
to compare this test to previous mammograms and you may be asked to bring your
X-rays with you. Additional views of your breasts may be needed to look more
closely at a certain area of your breast. This additional test is called a
If your health care provider orders additional
tests, such as a breast ultrasound or breast biopsy, ask for information about
these tests. Remember, if you have a lump in your breast, a normal mammogram is
not enough testing to make sure the lump is not cancer.
When you receive your results or a call to have
more testing done, be sure to ask questions if you do not understand your
health care providers plan for your care.