Buddy Check 11

How to do a breast self-exam

Steps to Breast Self-Examination

Taking charge of your health means getting to know your body. We believe monthly breast self-exams (BSE) do just that. The American Cancer Society (ACS) says regular BSEs help people become more aware of their bodies. Once you've reached your 20s, regular BSEs should be part of your regimen. If something changes, you'll notice it sooner if you're more aware of your body.

Just as your period ends (or at the same time each month if you do not have periods), check for any change in the normal look or feel of your breasts. Reports any changes to your doctor or nurse. Go for regular breast exams and ask about a mammogram.


  1. Feel for a hard lump, thickening or any change in your breast tissue.

  2. Lie down on your back with a pillow under your right shoulder

  3. Use the pads of the three middle fingers on your left hand to examine your right breast

  4. Press using a light, medium, and firm pressure in a circular motion

  5. Follow an up and down pattern

  6. Feel for changes in your breast, above and below your collarbone and in your armpit area

  7. Repeat on your left breast using your right hand

These steps may be repeated while bathing or showering using soapy hands.


Look for changes in the shape, size, or appearance of your breasts. Look for dimpling, rash, or puckering of the skin or nipple, nipple discharge, or any change from normal. Inspect your breasts in four steps:

  1. Hold arms at your sides

  2. Hold arms over your head

  3. Press your hands on your hips to tighten your chest muscles

  4. Bend forward with hands on your hips

Take Charge of Your Health