• October 19, 2022

Breast Self-Exam: How to Do It Correctly

A timely breast self-exam (BSE) can help you detect breast cancer early and allow you to get diagnosed and treated to protect your health. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the right way to perform a breast self-exam.

Step 1: Stand Up in a Normal Posture

An effective BSE starts with a thorough examination. Make sure you make some time for it so that you’re not rushing.

Stand in front of a mirror in a normal posture. Your shoulders should be straight and your arms should be on your hips. Make sure the room has adequate lighting so you can see any irregularities or abnormalities. Look at your breasts in the mirror.

  • Does the size, shape, and color of your breasts look normal?
  • Are your breasts evenly shaped? Is there any swelling, lumping, or distortion?
  • Is the skin bulging or puckering?
  • Has a nipple changed position or become inverted?
  • Do you see any redness or rashes?

Take your time with this stage and answer these questions as accurately as possible.

three women in pink shirts and pink ribbons symbolizing breast cancer survivors

Step 2: Raise Your Arms

When you raise your arms, look for the same factors as in Step 1 and try to identify additional signs such as fluid emanating from your nipple(s)—also known as pathologic nipple discharge. If you see fluid, is it bloody or watery, yellowish, and milky? Bloody fluid if you are not pregnant or breastfeeding is suspicious and you should see your doctor as soon as you can. This doesn’t necessarily mean that cancer is present, mind you, but you should have it checked out.

Step 3: Lie Down

It’s time to lie down and perform a physical self-exam. Feel your breasts to see whether you detect any lumps. Navigate the entirety of your breasts, starting from the collarbones to the armpits to the cleavage to the top of the abdomen.

If you feel a lump, don’t panic. Most lumps are benign. However, it could be malignant. If you notice any changes or lumps, call your doctor.

You’ve done all you can do on your own. Now it’s time for your physician to perform a professional examination and mammogram to get a more thorough diagnosis.

Recommended Read: Breast Cancer Support Group

The Comprehensive Breast Center at TOPS Surgical Specialty Hospital is one of the leading breast cancer treatment facilities in Houston. Following your self-exam, schedule a consultation with one of our radiologists or breast surgeons for early diagnosis and treatment. Visit our website to find the right radiologist or breast surgeon near you.

We also have orthopedic surgeons, gastroenterologists, podiatrists, urologists, and sports medicine specialists on staff. Our team is committed to providing quality patient care and helping you enjoy a healthy, happy life. If you have any questions, we’re always happy to help.

Contact Us

  • Driving Directions