Women Health Resolution: Breast Self-Exams
We all know Breast Self-Exams (BSEs) are important- but when life is busy sometimes they’re all too easy to forget. In fact, making sure to do your monthly exam can be a great New Years resolution. But, what do you really need to know to make sure you’re doing your exam correctly? We’ve answered some of the most common questions below!
What is a BSE, really?
A BSE is simply examining your breasts for any lumps or abnormalities. A breast self exam covers the breast itself and the nipple as well as the area from armpit to collar bone, and the area below the middle of the breasts.
While we recommend that you call your doctor if you find anything not normal, remember that most breast lumps are perfectly harmless. Your self-exam is not about finding cancer; it’s about knowing what is normal for your breasts, which allows you to play a more active role in your own health.
How do I give myself a BSE?
Step One: Check yourself out in the mirror. Has anything changed about the physical appearance of your breasts since your last BSE? Do you notice any moles, discoloration, or swelling? Lower and raise your arms and contract your chest muscles- look for puckering or changes in the skin of and around your breasts.
Step Two: Lie down, and put the arm closest to the breast you’re examining above your head. Put a pillow below your arm to make your breast completely open and easier to feel. Starting at your armpit, make small, slow circles pressing on your breasts. You’re feeling for any unusual lumps or bumps. When you’ve done the whole breast, squeeze your nipple to make sure any unexpected discharge doesn’t come out. Then do the same thing to the other breast.
Some women prefer to do their BSE in the shower with the help of slippery soap and water, and that’s fine. The venue doesn’t matter, as long as you’re doing it.
Who needs a BSE?
If you’re 20 or older, you! By age 20, we recommend a monthly breast self-exam, as well as a clinical breast exam every 3 years. After 40, you’ll want to start having clinical breast exams annually, as well as annual mammograms. Even once you get a mammogram, you should still continue your regular monthly BSEs.
When it comes to our breast health, we’re better safe than sorry. Doing your BSE each month ensures that you are on top of your own health, which is definitely an empowering feeling.
When should I do my BSE?
Regularly, once a month. It’s recommended to try a couple of days after the end of your period, when your breasts are less tender. But if you don’t get regular periods, feel free to just pick a day you can remember each month. We know sometimes it can be hard to remember, so our upcoming YONO APP will also have a friendly built in alert that you can set to go off when the time comes.
What if it’s hard to recognize changes in my breasts from month to month?
Some of our customers have noted that remembering the landscape of your breasts and detecting changes are the most difficult parts of a BSE. YONO APPs will help you “map” and record breast tissue so that you can easily judge if there are any changes to your breasts.
However and wherever you decide to do your self-exam, the most important thing is that you do it. And once you have, congratulate yourself for taking an easy step to a healthier you!