1. Playing It Safe

Breast Self-Exam (BSE)

How To Do a BSE

Beginning at age 20, do a breast self-exam (BSE) as advised by your doctor or health care provider. Do it at the same time each month to learn what is normal for you. The best time to do a BSE is within 3 days after your menstrual period stops.

Some lumpiness or thickening in the breasts is normal. Your "job" isn't just to find lumps, but to notice if there are any changes. If you have questions, ask your doctor. Don't self-diagnose. If you find a change in a breast, a clear or bloody nipple discharge, or a lump, DON'T PANIC! Call your doctor or health care provider. Most lumps are not cancer.

Do a BSE in 3 Steps

  1. 1.In Front of a Mirror:  Hold your arms at your sides. Look for changes in the shape of your breasts; dimpled, puckered, or scaly skin; or nipple changes or discharge. Raise your arms over your head. Look for the same things.

  2. 2.In the Shower: Lather your breasts with soap. Raise one arm. Move the pads of your 3 middle fingers, held flat, along the collarbone, over the entire breast (the tissue around the nipple, too), and your underarm area. Use your right fingers for your left breast and your left fingers for your right breast. Check for changes, lumps, knots, etc.

  3. 3.Lying Down:  Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right hand behind your head. Move the pads of your left hand's 3 middle fingers, held flat, along the collarbone and over the entire right breast and underarm area. Massage the colored tissue around the nipple. Squeeze the nipple gently. Check for a clear or bloody discharge. Repeat all of these steps for the left breast.