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Sources: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Screening for breast cancer.

American Cancer Society (2009). Prevention and Early Detection: American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer. Atlanta: American Cancer Society U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Screening for breast cancer.

Here are some helpful places to find additional information. National Cancer Institute (NCI) 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) American Cancer Society (ACS) 1-800-ACS-2345 (1-800-227-2345) The University of Utah has a website that can answer many medical questions: Healthcare.utah.edu Or 801-581-2121

Madsen Womens Health Center Clinic 4 OBGYN at the University of Utah Hospital Healthcare.utah.edu Pictures taken from the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics website.

What is Breast Self-Examination? (BSE)


A Breast Self-Examination is a test for women that can be done at home to determine whether there are any changes in breasts or underarms. A change in these areas does not mean there is immediate cause for alarm, but any changes should be reported to a physician right away.

of your fingers in small circles to examine the breast opposite of the hand you are using. Examine from collarbone to bra line and from armpit to breastbone. You will need to examine each spot three times, increasing the pressure each time to feel the different layers. Do not life your fingers for risk of missing an abnormality.

A BSE should not cause any discomfort or have any side effects. The only risk that could occur is becoming anxious if you find a change. This is why it is important to consult your physician before taking any extreme measures.

Important things to note:


*After your first BSE you should be familiar with the shape and size of your breasts. This will enable you to more easily recognize abnormalities. *If you have smaller breasts then you may feel harder tissue that is actually your rib. Follow the tissue and see if it meets up with your ribcage.

When should a BSE be completed?


Women should begin looking for changes in their 20s. The exam should be done regularly along with clinical exams performed every three years. A BSE can be completed once a month. Women who are still menstruating should complete the exam a few days after their period so that their breasts are not tender or swollen, making the exam difficult.

What are you looking for?


If found these abnormalities are not reasons to panic. Consult with your physician so they can determine if it is something that needs to be treated. *lumps (painful or not)

*If both breasts feel lumps throughout then it should be normal for you. *It is normal for clear or milky discharge to come from your nipples. There are several causes for this.

How is a Breast Self-Examination done?


A BSE is best done lying down. You will need to remove clothing from the waist up and then lay on your back. This is so breast tissue will spread evenly and make it easier to examine for abnormalities.

*unusual thick areas *sticky or bloody discharge from nipples *changes in the skin on your nipples or breasts (Ex: puckering, dimpling, or wrinkling) *unusual increase in size in one breast

Use the pads of your three middle fingers (not the tips) to check each breast. Move the pads

*drooping or lowering of one breast Are there any risks associated with BSEs?