Breast Self-Examination

1. Image Lying in bed, place pillow under one shoulder to elevate and flatten breast. Examine each breast using the opposite hand, first with arm under head and again with arm at side.
2. Image Make small rotary motions with flat pads (not tips) of fingers.


3. Image Palpate breasts in concentric circles from rim inwards towards nipple. Feel for knots, lumps, thickenings, indentations or swelling. Be sure to include armpit area.
4. Image In shower, wet, soapy skin makes it easier to feel lumps. Keep one hand overhead and examine each breast with opposite hand; if breast are heavy, large or pendulous, support breast with one hand and examine with opposite hand.
5. Image In front of a large mirror, stand with arms relaxed at sides. Examine breasts for swelling, dimpling, bulges, retractions, skin irritations, sores or changes in moles; also for changes in nipple color; texture or orientation. Repeat with arms raised.
6. Image Repeat inspection in step 5, while contracting chest muscles; first clasp hands in front of forehead, squeezing palms together; then place palms flat on sides of hips pressing downward. This highlights bulges, indentations, etc which may signal growth of tumors.


7. Image Bend forward from the hips, resting hands on knees or two chair backs. Use mirror to examine breasts for normal irregularities and abnormal variances; both are most pronounced in this position.
8. Image Squeeze nipples to inspect for secretions/discharge.
9. Report any suspicious finding to your doctor without delay.

10. Supplement your BSE with a periodic professional breast exam by your doctor, as part of a regular physical exam and cancer checkup.