Benefits of Breast Self-Exam (BSE)
By Norma E. Roth
We all know the most effective way to detect breast cancer is with mammography or 3D mammography. But no one knows your body better than you. That’s why it’s so important to become familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel. The more aware you are, the easier it is to identify changes you see or feel in your breasts. A routine breast self-exam (BSE), which includes looking at and touching your breasts, can help you achieve this.
Many women choose to perform a monthly BSE as part of their breast screening regimen. In fact, a BSE, combined with a clinical breast exam (performed by a doctor) and annual mammography, is considered a useful strategy for optimum breast screening. BSE is still regarded as a useful and effective tool for checking changes in your breasts. Beginning in their 20’s (or even younger), women can benefit from performing monthly BSEs.
The best time to perform a BSE is about three to five days after the start of your period. At this time in your menstrual cycle, your breasts tend to be less lumpy and tender. During your exam, take note of any changes in breast size (swelling or shrinking), color (redness or scaly skin), lumps or thickening in the breast or under the arm, and nipple discharge or tenderness. You should discuss any changes with your healthcare provider when the changes are first noticed. Remember, finding changes in your breasts does not mean there is cancer.
SJRA encourages women to perform routine BSE in conjunction with annual screening.
For an annual screening mammogram, please book online (click HERE) or call 1-888-909-SJRA (7572).
About Norma E. Roth
Norma E. Roth, a breast cancer survivor, is a freelance journalist for health wellness and sustainable living. She is an advocate for annual mammography screening, believing early detection is the key to cancer survival. You can learn more about her at www.normaeroth.com.