Breast self-exams (BSEs) are not something many women, especially those who are younger, remember to do on a regular basis. However, it should be a monthly priority for every woman. These exams can help you detect any abnormalities and some types of breast cancer early, allowing for treatment to begin sooner.
There has been some debate over how effective BSEs are, but according to BreastCancer.org: “About 20% of the time, breast cancers are found by physical examination rather than by mammography.”
Quite often women become concerned over lumps and bumps that are not an issue. To avoid unnecessary panic, one of the best things you can do is familiarize yourself with your breasts and how they feel. Regular BSEs will help.
It is very normal to have a few lumps in your breasts due to lymph nodes and other tissues, but knowing where yours are and how they feel will help you know whether or not something unusual pops up.
Here are a few tips for performing a breast self-exam:
- Avoid doing an exam during or right after your menstrual cycle. Tissues often become swollen, making it harder to find abnormalities during these times.
- Perform your BSEs when you’re lying down. This helps spread the tissue out and makes it easier to feel unusual lumps.
- Keep a journal of your findings to help you recognize any changes in your breasts over time.
- Don’t panic if you do find an abnormality. Make an appointment with your doctor at All About Women to have a professional examination performed.
If you’d like to find out more on how to do a breast self-exam, read our article: Performing a Breast Self-Exam.
If you’d prefer to have a professional breast cancer screening, schedule a mammogram with one of our compassionate and expert Gainesville physicians today.