Learn the steps to performing a breast self examination (BSE). When you are familiar with your breasts, it is easier to tell when something feels wrong.
It is important to have an idea of what your breasts feel like when they are healthy. You should perform the BSE when your breasts are not swollen or tender.
How to Perform a BSE
- Start with a visual inspection in front of a mirror. Look for skin changes like scaling, dimpling, redness; changes in size or shape of the breasts; and changes to the nipple.
- Next, lie down on your back and move your right arm behind your head.
- Use the three middle fingers on your left hand to feel the breast tissue on your right breast.
- Move your fingers in small circular motions, overlaping to ensure you feel all the tissue. You will need to use light, medium, and firm pressure to make sure you feel the tissue all the way through the breast. You should feel the entire area inside the collarbone, armpit, bottom of the rib cage, and middle of the chest.
- Repeat the exam on the left breast. If you notice naything abnormal, you should call your OB/GYN or primary care provider. Ask your provider to schedule a screening mammogram with the Breast Health Center of Excellence. Should they find anything abnormal, the Breast Health Center can follow you through your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.