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This is your monthly Breast Self-Awareness reminder.
Breast Self-Awareness Reminder
Breast Self-Awareness (BSA) is knowing how your breasts normally look and feel. This method of feeling and looking for changes does not require special training, and there is no right or wrong way to do it.
Some women choose to perform a Breast Self-Exam (BSE) to check for changes in their breasts. Breast Self-Exam is a step-by-step method of examining for breast changes. Starting at age 20, women should be informed about the benefits and limitations of BSE.
Regardless of the method you choose, you should always report any new changes to your health professional as soon as they are discovered. Although most lumps are not cancer, it is best to see your health care provider right away and have the peace of mind knowing that all changes have been checked.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation recommends you see your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes:
· Lump, hard knot or thickening
· Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
· Change in the size or shape of the breast
· Dimpling or puckering of the skin
· Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
· Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
· Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
· New pain in one spot that doesn't go away
Should I touch my breasts at a certain time of the month?
Premenopausal women (still menstruating)- The best time of month to touch the breasts is usually right after a menstrual period when breast tissue is softer and less tender and changes are easier to feel.
Postmenopausal women (no longer menstruating)- BSA can be performed at anytime of the month. If you choose to practice BSE, it is best to touch the breasts on the same day every month, picking a date that is easy to remember.
Women with breast implants- It may be helpful to have your surgeon help identify the edges of the implant so that you know what you are feeling. Some believe that implants may actually make it easier to examine your breasts because the implants push out the breast tissue.
Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding- Pregnant women and women who are breast-feeding may also choose to examine their breasts regularly for changes.
Women who have had breast cancer surgery- If you have had surgery (lumpectomy or mastectomy), it is important for you to get to know your new normal. Notify your doctor if you recognize any changes.
More Information on BSA and BSE
What is BSA?
Tips for performing BSE
Breast Self-Exam instructional video by Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Types of Breast lumps
American Cancer Society
M D Anderson
Susan G. Komen Foundation