How do I know what's normal in my first breast self-exam?

Susanne M. Chow, MD
Diagnostic Radiology
Initially you may not know what you are feeling for with your self-exam. Some women normally feel somewhat lumpy bumpy and some women normally feel perfectly smooth. You should get a general idea what your breast tissue normally feels like. The more regularly you do your self-exam, the better you can determine a change in YOUR normal.
Not knowing what to look for can be a difficult challenge for you. With your healthcare professional, it might be a good idea to review the steps you need to take, as well as what to look for. Here's a self-checking guide that will help you get started: 
Elaine L. Wade, MD
Hematology & Oncology
Starting with your own physician to guide you can be helpful. Also, resources in the community can sometimes be found with educators including breast health specialists (usually nurses) who occasionally teach classes in this regard. Web sites such as Y-Me/Breast National Breast Cancer Association or Susan G. Komen for the Cure may also provide instruction for a proper exam.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.