Regular breast self examination (BSE) helps you become familiar with the unusual feel of your breasts. You will detect any lumps in the breast at an early stage of their development and although only 1 in 10 breast lumps is cancer, 1 in 15 women develops breast cancer at some time. Most breast cancers are found (as a lump) by the woman when self examining.
5 Steps of a Breast Self-Exam
Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders back and your arms on your hips.
- Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and colour
- Breasts that are evenly shaped without visibile distortion on swelling
- If you see any of the following changes bring them to your doctor's attention:
- Dimpling, puckering or bulging of the skin
- A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple
- Redness, soreness rash or swelling
- Raise your arms and look for the same changes
- Look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nippes (this could be watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).
- Next, feel your breast whilst lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast, and then your left had to feel your right breast. Use a firm touch (using the first few finger pads of your hand) keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a small circular motion, covering the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side, from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen and from your armpit to your cleavage. Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast.
- Finally, feel your breast while you are standing or sitting; it is often easier to do this when your skin is wet & slippery (shower); and follow the movements in step 4.
By performing regular BSE, you are safeguarding your health.