When to Self Breast Exam? Stick it on My To-do List!

Self breast exam, it isn’t necessary is it? Oh yes it is. Absolutely. Regular BSE can help you find changes early, and need not be a long, drawn out, dreaded process. So, do you know when to do yours?

First, let me briefly recap with the “how to” question.

How To Do A Breast Examination

  • Stand in front of the mirror, arms at sides, view all angels of your chest.
  • Standing, raise your arms , looking at all the area in the mirror.
  • Hands on hips, looking in the mirror, slowly lean forward, checking as you go.
  • One arm over the back of your head.
  • Use three finger pads of the opposite hand.
  • Do circular massaging movements over your breast.
  • Apply different pressure, light, medium and firm.
  • Do varying sized circular massaging motions, small to larger.
  • Go over the entire area in a grid type pattern.
  • Feel the surrounding areas.
  • Check the area leading to up to your armpit, checking for swollen lymph nodes.
  • Examine your armpit.
  • Squeeze your nipple.
  • Examine your nipple.
  • Do your examination lying down as well, repeating the above process.

When To Do My BSE?

The best time to do a self breast exam is the week following your period. Why? Because leading up to your period, due to hormonal changes, you may be very tender. I know I am! Most other women I have spoken to, seem to have the same problem. Sore breasts are a common issue for women all over the world. Because of your breast tenderness due to your cycle, the last thing you want to do around this time, is an exam! Yes, I can relate to that!

Not only could it be uncomfortable, but you may have hormonal lumps or cysts, that later disappear, once your period has finished. If you were do to a breast examination at this time, not only could you experience discomfort, but you might be alarmed and confused by feeling various breast lumps, that would eventually disappear. You might panic, thinking that you have signs of breast cancer, when in fact it could be your regular cycle, doing its regular thing.

So a good idea is to do a self breast exam about a week after your period has ended. Then you are less likely to have tenderness and hormonal lumps. If you feel you need support in doing your routine, ask your partner to assist you.

No Periods?
What happens if you don’t have periods? I suggest you pick a day of the month that is easy for you to remember. Perhaps the first of the month? It doesn’t really matter as long as each month you do your self breast exam on the same date. It makes it easier to remember to do, and to be honest, those months come around fast! Does that mean I am getting old?

Be A Note Taker
Get your calender out ladies and keep track of your cycle and examinations. Perhaps get a notebook and write down your period dates and when you did your BSE. This way you can take notes on any areas where you are tender, felt a lump, noticed a rash, breast discharge, swelling, indentations, puckering, or any other signs of cancer.

I am not a Doctor, however if I was one, and a woman came to me with a notebook containing helpful information about her breast self exam, it would make my job a lot easier!

So girls do yourself a favour. Next time you are shopping, why not buy yourself a lovely notebook and start being a note taker. Take full control of your health. Do regular breast examinations each month, then write down anything about your exam that would be helpful to yourself, or your Doctor. Then take yourself out for coffee!

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