Have You Done Your Breast Self Examination?

A rear view of an African American woman performing a breast self-examination (BSE) and is dressed in a towel framed against a brown-gold background.

Am I the only one who feels that every other person has cancer these days? It’s insane! Whether it’s the life of a family member or friend, everyone seems to be affected directly or indirectly by this horrible illness.

A rear view of an African American woman performing a breast self-examination (BSE) and is dressed in a towel framed against a brown-gold background.
Breast Self Examination

Why You Should Consider Breast Self Examinations

Breast cancer appears in women of varied ages and the survival rate for women  is lowest when under the age of 35 years. Breast Self examinations (BSEs) are especially important for young women because the BSE and the clinical breast examination (CBE) are the only early detection techniques recommended to them.

Early detection significantly increases your chance of survival while  your body is still strong enough to endure the sometimes challenging treatment. This means that you also may not experience, but should be aware of some of the other symptoms such at:

  • Skin dimpling or irritation
  • Breast pain
  • Nipple pain or nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • A discharge from the nipple (other than breast milk)
  • Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin

When is Best

The best time to do a self-breast exam is about 3 – 5 days after your period starts. Your breasts are not as tender or lumpy at this time in your monthly cycle. So, it will be easier for you to detect changes.

What Experts Say

A 2008 study of nearly 400,000 women in Russia and China reported that breast self-examination does not reduce breast cancer mortality and may even cause harm by prompting unnecessary biopsies (removal and examination of suspicious tissue). Still, I (not an expert) have had two women in my life experience the benefit of early detection through doing a breast self examination.

How to Perform a Breast Self Examination

In my experience, the shower has been the easiest place for me to do my monthly BSE. I’ve been going Breast Self exams for the past, maybe 10 years, and although I’ve fallen off for months at a time, I was encouraged to begin again after my aunt found a tiny lump in her breast (in shower).

Now, one of the reasons that BSEs have such low success raters is because people do not become competent in performing them – something that can only come with regular practise and trust infographic for reference can’t hurt. Learn how to do your BSE properly, using the image below, and you may save your life. Share this post and you may save the life of a friend.


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