Breast Self-Exam: How to Check for Lumps and Other Breast Changes

A breast self-exam (also known as BSE) is a screening technique that you can do at the comfort of your home to check for breast lumps. A breast self-exam can help screen for cysts, tumors, or other abnormalities in the breasts.

It is always a good idea to understand what’s normal for your breasts. This way, you can check in with your doctor if you detect something unusual, such as a skin change, a lump, or a discharge. Although a BSE is not usually recommended as a primary screening tool for breast cancer, the American Cancer Society encourages women to be more familiar with how her breasts look and feel. Women should undergo regular breast screening through mammography for early detection of breast cancer. The plastic surgery experts at Fort Worth, TX recommend that women should perform a breast self-exam every month starting at age 18.


Performing a Breast Self-Exam

Begin by standing topless in front of a mirror with your hands on both sides.

Inspect your breasts for the following:

– dimpling
– changes in shape, size, or symmetry
– asymmetrical ridges at the bottom
– puckering
– inverted nipples

Then, with your arms above your head, lift one breast at a time.

– Inspect your breasts while lying down using the pads of your fingers. Do this again in the shower to allow your fingers to glide easily over your skin.

– Put one arm over your head while massaging your breast with the other hand. Using different levels of pressure, massage your fingers in a spiral pattern starting at the nipple. Make your way up, making sure that you also check the areas near the center of your breastbone and on the sides near your armpits.

Finally, be sure to check your nipples for any discharge.

Don’t panic if you find a lump or any sign of abnormality. Keep in mind that most breast abnormalities turn out to be non-cancerous or benign. However, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore a lump or abnormality. The plastic surgery experts at Fort Worth, TX recommend that you should make an appointment with your medical provider to have your breasts examined professionally.