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Breast – Self Examination



BREAST SELF – EXAMINATION (BSE) may cost a woman just a few minutes of her time every month, but it can be a life saver. It is good idea to get to know what is normal for your breast. That way, you can check in with your doctor if you notice something unusual such as lump, skin change or discharge.


Breast self – examination is a screening method use in an attempt to detect early breast cancer. The method involves the woman her self-looking at and feeling each breast for possible lump, distortion or swelling.

The steps of breast self- examination are as follows:

  1. Stand in front of a mirror with the arms drop by the side of the body. Look at the breast noting any significance different in there sizes. Compare the two nipples and the skin overlying the breast, note any one sided retraction of the nipple or dimpling of the skin over the breast. These may be pointer to a problem in the affected breast.
  2. While still standing in front of the mirror, put the hand on the hip and observe the breast again looking for nipple retraction or dimpling of the skin. Repeat the same observation with both arm raise and bend behind the head.
  3. Examine the breast in a standing position. To examine the left breast, raise the left arm and bend it behind the head. Examine the left breast with the finger of the right hand. The finger should be flat and press on the breast against the chest wall. Using a circular motion of the fingers feel for a lump or general lumpiness. Imagine the breast as the face of a 12 O’clock position at the uppermost part of the breast. Start the examination at the 12 O’ Clock position and move the fingers in a clockwise direction until the 12 O’clock position is reached again. Repeat the same process of examination in an inner circle around the nipple and again on the nipple itself. Press the nipple for any discharge and note its colour. Finally examine the area between the breast and the armpit. The area contain breast tissue in which lumps can form.
  4. To examine the right breast, raise the right arm and bend it behind the head. Examine the right breast using the fingers of the left hand in the manner describe above.
  5. Examine the breast in the lying position. To examine the left breast, lie down with pillow placed under the left shoulder. Examine the left breast using the fingers at the right hand in the manner already described. Now examine the right breast using the left hand, with a pillow placed under the right shoulder


The best time to do a monthly self-breast examination is about 3 to 5 days after your period starts. Do it at the same time every month. Your breast is not as tender or lumpy at this time in your monthly cycle. If you have gone through menopause, do your exam on the same day every month.


– Nurse Odo Eugenia Chinasa Wrote in From Nyanya General Hospital.



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