Self Breast Exam Tips

Self Breast Exam Tips – Performing a self breast exam (SBE) has been widely reported to be one of the best methods for early detection of breast cancer, especially in those who have not yet started routine mammograms for screening purposes.


Tips for proper self breast exams (SBEs) courtesy of Dr Daniel J Greene of Contemporary Obsetrics and Gynecology in Rochester Hills.

Becoming familiar with how to perform a self breast exam SBE is important as it can help a woman establish a baseline for what is normal in her breasts. Over time, a woman will normally become much more comfortable and confident performing SBE as she gets accustomed to the normal look and feel of the breast tissues. That way, if a breast mass begins to develop, that woman will be much more likely to appreciate its presence and present more quickly to her doctor for evaluation and management. Such early detection can greatly improve a woman’s chances for surviving breast cancer.

Developing a good self breast exam technique is important. Try to make the steps you use to perform SBE a routine so it is performed the same way each time. This may also improve your chances of detecting a problem in its early stages. Ideally, plan to do your exam a few days after your period or at the same time each month if you do not have periods.

Always perform self breast exam in good lighting. Begin in front of a mirror. Place your arms at your sides, look for skin changes such as dimpling, color changes or puckering of the skin, nipple discharge or changes in the shape or contour of the breast. Look for these same changes again with your arms raised over your head, and then one last time with your hands firmly on your hips. Using one hand, keep the fingers flat and together and gently feel your breast without pressing too hard. Examine the entire breast carefully and completely using one of the following techniques:

Self Breast Exam Techniques – Tips

  • Lines – Starting under the arm move your fingers down to the bottom of your breast, then back up to the top of the breast. Repeat this up and down pattern across the breast (toward the breastbone) until the entire breast is checked.
  • Circles – Starting at the top of your breast move your fingers slowly around the breast in smaller and smaller circles until you have reach the nipple region.
  • Wedges – Starting at the outside edge of the breast slowly work your way inward to the nipple and then back out again. Cover one wedge shaped area of the breast at a time until the entire breast is checked.

With a good self breast exam technique the chance of detecting a problem early is increased. So make this a part of your monthly schedule for minimizing your risk and as a part of your routine care for good health.

This elf breast exam tips article was provided to Oakland County Moms by Dr. Greene, Contemporary OB/GYN, Contemporary Obstetrics and Gynecology in Rochester Hills. Call Conteporary OB/GYN today at 248-656-2022, or visit

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