Breast Self Examination

Breast self examination.

It is our opinion that every woman should do Breast Self-Examination (B.S.E.) as soon as her breasts develop and continue throughout her life. Examine your breasts once a month, ideally the first week after a menstrual cycle. If you are doing this examination for the first time it will be beneficial to do checks throughout the first month or two to become familiar with the natural changes your breasts go through during the monthly cycle.

learn breast self examiniation

Most women will notice that just before menstruation their breasts enlarge and their nipples become sensitive and some say even painful. The texture of the breasts change and they may become lumpy. You may also find little swellings. These swellings are glands in the breast, which enlarge in preparation for pregnancy. If you don’t become pregnant, the breasts will return to their normal size and the glands will become smaller again, ready for the same cycle next month.

These changes in the breast are only one part of many changes that occur in the female body as the result of the monthly ebb and flow of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone.

Surveys indicate that approximately one woman in nine may develop breast cancer in the UK. Regularly examining your breasts can help detect any early problems.

We advise gentle breast massageto aid the removal of toxins trapped by hours of bra wearing; regular, gentle massage may also improve blood circulation and the supply of nutrients to the breasts and will also help you to recognise anything that is not normal for you.

Doing it…

Breast Self Examination or ‘B.S.E’ consists of two stages namely looking and feeling. Start your examination by standing stripped to the waist in front of a large mirror and look for any changes in appearance, and for any unusual markings on the breasts and nipples. Then place your hands clasped behind your head and look again flexing your chest muscles and turn slightly sideways to see your side profile, and repeat for the other side. Now lean forward with your shoulders pulled back and your hands clasped behind your lower back, the breasts should hang smoothly without any puckering or dimpling. The next part of the examination is to feel for any changes, do this whilst lying down. Make yourself comfortable and using small circular movements with the pads of your fingers (Do not use your fingertips and nails) examine each breast using one of the following methods: -

Concentric circles, or Up and Down

Start at the nipple and work slowly outwards making small circular movements, continuing from the top of the breast into the under arm area, and finally the collarbone, applying moderate pressure as you go. You will be feeling for anything that is unusual, i.e. any soreness or swellings, lumps or bumps that are not normal for you.

It doesn’t matter which method (see pictures) you use as long as you take the time to work around the whole of the breast, collarbone and armpit area. You can use a little vegetable oil as it helps the fingers to glide over the breast more easily and sensitively, alternatively you can examine your breasts whilst in the bath or shower.

This article has been prepared for the purposes of raising awareness only – if you require further advice or have any concerns about your breast or general health always visit your GP or health care professional.

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