How do I know if I am doing my breast self-exam correctly?

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This is a great question and I can only respond by telling you what I tell my patients.

After I have completed a normal exam, I tell my patients to go home and watch my breast self-exam video (beawarefoundation.org). I make them promise me that they will not look for lumps, but will make a major attempt to obtain a mental image of their NORMAL breasts. The process of obtaining the mental image of the normal takes time.

When learning the normal baseline, women must spend at least 15 minutes examining both breasts as done in my video. They should repeat the process every day until they satisfied that they have a clear mental image of the normal. Once this level of confidence is reached, the exam should be done monthly. I recommend that menopausal women do it on the first day of every month (check out our website to register for a monthly reminder). Menstruating women should do BSE 5-10 days after the onset of their period. 

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See how to do a breast self-exam at: http://selfchec.org/main/self-checks/cancers/womens-breast/. If you have any questions at all, check with your healthcare professional. Don't forget to remind the men in your life that they can be diagnosed with breast cancer too! Have them review the above site with you.

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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.