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Girls Only PG-13
How to do a Breast Self-Exam (karma: 14)
By LiveYourDreams Comments: 285, member since Mon Aug 16, 2004
On Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:36 PM
Edited by LiveYourDreams (103410) on 2007-04-23 22:37:11 Spelling
Edited by LiveYourDreams (103410) on 2007-04-23 22:41:08
Made sticky by Lirit (28370) on 2007-04-26 13:06:09

There is lots of great info on this site.. but I realized nowhere does it talk about breast self-exams(BSE). So I thought I would make up a post explaining how to do one.

Why do a BSE?
Doing a monthly self-exam will help you become familiarized with your breasts and their normal variations. This will make it more likely for you to be able to detect an abnormality and seek appropriate medical care.

*Early detection of breast cancer is important; if the cancer is not invasive, the survival rate is close to 100%.*

Keep in mind, if you *do* find something abnormal, it does not necessarily mean there's something wrong or that you have cancer.

-The majority of women will never get breast cancer
-The great majority of breast lumps are benign

When is the best time to do a BSE?
The best time to do a BSE is right after the menstrual period, usually the 4th through 7th day of your cycle (Day 1 is the day your period starts). This is when the breasts are smallest and least congested, tender and/or swollen. If you don't have regular periods, do it on the same day each month.

How to do the BSE

1. Lie down and put a pillow under your right shoulder. Place your right arm behind your head. (See pic above)

2. Use the finger pads of your three middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps or thickening (on the right breast). Your finger pads are the top third of each finger.

3. Press firmly enough to know how your breast feels. If you're not sure how hard to press, ask your health care provider, or try to copy the way your health care provider uses the finger pads during a breast exam. Learn what your breast feels like most of the time. A firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast is normal.

4. Move around the breast in a set way. You can choose either circles, verticle lines, or wedges.

Pic of these 3 techniques:
www.lifespan.org . . .

Do it the same way every time. It will help you make sure that you've gone over the entire breast area and to remember how your breast feels. Personally, I find circles the easiest way to cover the whole breast, but that's just me.

5. Gently compress the nipple between your thumb and forefinger and look for discharge. (which can be completely normal, but you may want to bring this up to your health care provider)

6. Now examine your left breast using the finger pads of your right hand, with the pillow placed under your left shoulder, and left arm behind your head.

7. You may want to check your breasts while standing in front of a mirror right after you do your breast self-exam each month. See if there are any changes in the way your breasts look: dimpling of the skin, changes in the nipple, redness or swelling.

8. You may also want to do an extra BSE in the shower. Your soapy hands will glide over the wet skin, making it easy to see how your breasts feel.

9. It is important to check the area between the breast and the underarm, and the underarm itself. Also examine the area above the breast to the collarbone and to the shoulder. Lumps on these areas could be swollen lymph nodes, but you should still bring these up to your health care provider.

10. If you find any changes, see your health care provider right away. (The sooner the better)

****************************

I hope this was helpful!
I tried to add pics, but couldn't figure it out, so I just added the one link I thought would be important.
I'm happy to answer any questions.

Sources:

Lecture Notes
Physical Assessment Text: Jarvis (2004)
Maternal Child Nursing Text: Wong et al (2006)
Website posted above (thanks to google!)

20 Replies to How to do a Breast Self-Exam

re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam (karma: 1)
By Celebrianmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7921, member since Thu Mar 31, 2005
On Thu Apr 26, 2007 03:00 PM
I like the fact that you put this up. Why? Because too many of us slack in this area and don't do our self exams like we should. After I gave birth, mine went out the window because I couldn't feel a thing with so much milk in my breasts. But now that there isn't anymore, why haven't I restarted?

Good reminder!
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By flippin_gorgeous Comments: 65, member since Sun Mar 11, 2007
On Fri Apr 27, 2007 02:10 PM
great post!

i always try to examine myself just in case, but i have never known how to do it properly or what i'm looking for.
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6075, member since Tue Dec 20, 2005
On Fri Apr 27, 2007 03:12 PM
Thank you so very much for taking the time to post this. I've been hearing a fair amount about how all women should do self-exams, but I've never really known how to do one myself.
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam (karma: 1)
By Nicci_member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1667, member since Fri Mar 28, 2003
On Sat Apr 28, 2007 07:31 AM
Thank you x1 million.

I just found out that my grandmother has just being dignosed with breast cancer yesterday, and with such a huge history of cancer in my family, I decided today that I needed to start this, so thanks for posting
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By RhythmNSoleQT Comments: 41, member since Fri Mar 02, 2007
On Sat Apr 28, 2007 07:55 PM
This is a very good post... i'm glad its sticky. Its somingthing ive never even thought about doing, and its not somthing most people get reminded about. Thanxs.
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By hylndlasmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7170, member since Wed Sep 22, 2004
On Sat Apr 28, 2007 09:31 PM
Great Post!


This is certainly something we all need to be reminded about!
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By MangoTangomember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1449, member since Fri Dec 10, 2004
On Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:57 PM
I guess it's time for me to start doing this now. I'm so glad you brought this up. Karma for you.

Lauren
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By Emmymember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2437, member since Fri Sep 30, 2005
On Fri May 04, 2007 11:14 AM
Thanks for the post!

You know, it's really ironic... my dance teacher just found a lump on her breast, which turned out to be a non-cancerous cyst. But the reason she found it was that she did a BSE, and had it been cancerous she could have saved her own life.

So I was just about to come on here and make a post reminding everyone of the importance of BSEs, when I saw this! You beat me to it :D
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By SnowWhitemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7666, member since Sun Oct 27, 2002
On Mon May 21, 2007 08:54 AM
A lot of you probably think "I'm young, I don't need to do this."

Well you're wrong.

When I was 16/17 I found a lump in my breast that was rapidly getting bigger. I had to have surgery to get it removed.

So matter what age you are, EXAMINE YOUR BREASTS REGULARLY. It's no joke.
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By dancingfool21 Comments: 20, member since Tue Jul 10, 2007
On Tue Jul 10, 2007 11:49 PM
Thanks for posting this.
My mom thought she had breast cancer and luckly it was, but thanks to you I don't have to worry about if I have it!
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By myadiemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 88, member since Tue Jun 27, 2006
On Wed Aug 22, 2007 01:05 PM
Thanks a lot for the post. Now i know how to do it properly and will start right after my next period.
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By xbloodandtearsxmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 116, member since Fri Oct 05, 2007
On Thu Oct 25, 2007 04:27 PM
Great post.
I'm constently checking my body because when I was younger, we thought I had skin cancer on my scalp. I was pretty young so all I knew about cancer was that it killed you so now its become a obsession. It wasn't cancer though, thanks God.
Hope this helps people,
Rhianna
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By iLOVEASPiRE Comments: 20, member since Fri Jun 20, 2008
On Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:12 PM
Great post!
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By miraclefrmheavnmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2068, member since Mon Jun 02, 2008
On Sat Jul 26, 2008 08:23 PM
Edited by begstretcher2008 (197101) on 2008-07-26 20:26:45
This is a good thread. My mother caught her lump by her self-breast exam and it was cancer. She's been cancer-free for almost five years. Two more months and she won't have to take anymore breast cancer medication. YAY. Praise God!

For me, I don't do them. I know I should, but I just don't want to take the time. I can never tell which is abnormal and which isn't anyway; and the saddest part is, for me, I would rather "not" know that I had cancer. I know that sounds very wrong, but it's the honest truth. I would rather not know.

But yes, for others, it is important to do your SBE.
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By anniebanany113 Comments: 6, member since Wed Jul 30, 2008
On Sat Aug 09, 2008 07:47 PM
Thank you so much! This was very helpful!
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By courtney_baybee Comments: 13, member since Wed Oct 15, 2008
On Wed Oct 15, 2008 01:14 PM
this is realy usefull and important x.
myy aunt died of cancer , wich started out as breast cancer then spreaded x.
r.ip auntie paulinee x.
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By lvm_dancer Comments: 206, member since Mon Nov 12, 2007
On Fri Jul 31, 2009 08:36 PM
I have no idea if this means anything at all but I just thought I should check.
A couple of months ago I noticed these sort of indented lines and I thought it was just the way I had slept the night before, but they are still there. I had to check because there is a history of breast cancer in my family and it frightens me.
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By rsdancer1 Comments: 11, member since Wed Feb 10, 2010
On Sun Feb 14, 2010 07:40 PM
thank you for the post. my doctor showed me how to do it when i was about 13 and im 17 now and havent done it yet but this post made me want to get back into doing it. i know how to do it now.
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By liv5 Comments: 20, member since Sat Oct 29, 2011
On Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:31 PM
great post thanks :)
re: How to do a Breast Self-Exam
By nattymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2042, member since Wed Jul 16, 2003
On Sun Jan 20, 2013 09:15 PM
Just wanted to say how important this is at any age. I'm still very young, and I found lumps in my breast recently. I went to the doctor to double check everything and they're benign, woohoo! But just because you might be young doesn't mean it can't happen to you--check your breasts!

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