Breast Self Examination

Know when to get your mammogram.

  • Women between the ages of 20 & 39 should have a clinical breast exam (an examination performed by a trained medical professional) every three years.
  • All women 20 years of age and older should do a breast self-exam every month.
  • All women 40 years and older should have an annual mammogram

Facts about Breast Cancer.

  • Finding breast cancer at an early stage greatly improves your chances for successful treatment. Mammograms can help detect cancer before a woman can feel a lump in a self-exam.
  • Every two minutes, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer
  • The chance of a women having invasive breast cancer in her life is about 1 in 8.

* Breast cancer death rates are going down due to early detection. 

Breast Self-Examination (BSE) Education
Ask your health care professional to teach you the correct technique for breast self-examination.

Methods for Breast Self-Examination (BSE)
Use flat pad (not tips) of fingers to examine breast.  Be thorough; examine the entire area, including lymph nodes, from your collarbone to just below your breast, and from armpits to breastbone.  Use three levels of pressure: light, medium and firm.

Lying Down
Place a pillow under right shoulder.  With right arm over your head, examine right breast with pads of fingers using your left hand.  Reverse procedure for the left breast.

Before a Mirror
Look for swelling, dimpling, bulges, retractions, skin irritations and changes in moles or nipples.

In the Shower
Wet, soapy skin reduces friction and makes it easier to feel lumps.

Remember

  • Take charge of your health.
  • Practice routine BSE.
  • Schedule periodic mammograms. 
  • Have your health care professional perform annual exams.