Why we need Breast Self-Exam (BSE)?
Breasts are very sensitive to natural hormones as well as to any hormones we use during our life (hormones in birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, hormones used for thyroid diseases, hormones in morning after pills, etc.). In addition breasts are one of main sexual organs which could be often traumatized. And breasts are hard working organs during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Breasts are working also hard during hyperprolactinemia.
It is important to know that regular breast self-exam can help you know how your breasts normally feel and look, so you can notice any changes. Most breast changes or lumps are can be discovered very early and many of them are not cancerous, but only a health care provider can tell you for sure. If breast cancer is found early, you can have more treatment choices and a better chance of recovery. So, it is very important to find breast cancer at early stages – as early as possible.
Breast Self-Exam should not take the place of getting regular mammograms. Right now, mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early and to improve your chances for survival.
Breast Self-Exam is recommended every month. Breast Self-Exam should be performed during few days after your period (menstruation) ends. During this time, breasts are less tender or swollen. It is important to do Breast Self-Exam at the same time every month (approximately). By doing routine Breast Self-Exam and having routine mammogram and checkups, you can help detect breast problems early.
If you wish be healthy and prevent breast problems – please follow recommendations introduced in the table:
|Breast self-exams||after age 20 years||Once a month|
|Doctor’s exam of breasts||after age 20 years||Once a year|
|Mammography||age 40-50 years50 years and older
first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) or more than one other relative with breast or ovarian cancer that occurred before menopause
|Every 1–2 yearsOnce a year
Once a year
It is strongly recommended to start performing Breast Self-Exam starting from age 20. You should examine your breasts once a month as it is recommended above.
If you have stopped menstruating, perform the exam on the same day of each month, such as the first day of the month or a day easy for you to remember, such as your birth date or birthday of your boyfriend. With each exam, you will become familiar with the contours and feel of your breasts, and will be more alert to changes.