Breast Self Examination (BSE) should be done once each month by women 20 years and older.
The best time to do BSE is 7-10 days after the start of menses, when the breasts are least tender. If you no longer menstruate, do BSE on a fixed date every month, for example the first day of each month.
The purpose of BSE is to enable you to become familiar with the normal feel of your breast tissue so that you can recognise any abnormal changes.
While doing BSE, you need to look for:
- A lump that persists
- A change in the size or shape of one breast
- A dimpling or puckering of the skin (like orange peel)
- A retraction (pulling in) of the nipple
- A discharge (clear or bloody) from the nipple
If any of these changes are felt or seen, you should consult a doctor immediately.
If you notice a change in your breasts… do not panic!
Most breast changes are not breast cancer but all should be checked by a doctor.
- See a doctor who will examine your breast, ask questions about your change, and find out about any relevant medical and family history. This will help the doctor determine if your change is normal or if a review at a later date or further tests are required.
- You may be referred to go for a mammogram and/or ultrasound, which will be reviewed by a radiologist.
- If abnormalities are detected by the mammogram or ultrasound, a biopsy will be recommended. A fine needle may be used to obtain some cells or a larger needle to remove tissue from the affected area for examination under a microscope by a pathologist.
- If cancer is detected, you will be referred to a breast surgeon.
If you have concerns or questions about the investigation of the changes in your breasts, talk to your doctor or seek a second opinion.