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BREAST SELF EXAMINATION, (15th November, 2002)

Breast Self Examination (BSE).
This is the most effective, safe and inexpensive method of detecting Breast Cancer (B.C.) in its early stage, when chances of complete cure are brightest.

Who & when one should do BSE ?
All mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins, friends & even men too should do this. Do BSE monthly. 7-10 days from the day one of previous menstrual cycle. Same day every month in anyone not menstruating.

Basic FOUR Steps in BSE :
Look, Feel, Note down and Seek expert help.

Look & Observe:
Stand in front of a mirror large enough to see yourself from waist upwards. Look, observe size, shape, colour, contour and any change in nipple & areola. Turn slowly from side to side as you look. Observe in 3 positions; with arms by your side, arms raised above your head & with both hands pressing on your hips. (Figs 1,2 & 3 )



Feel and Experience: (FIG. 4)
This is done in 2 positions – in standing & lying positions. (Figs. 5 & 6 ) Feel right breast with left hand and left breast with the right. Feel with the FLAT of the fingers and hand making a circular motion as you feel. The feeling hand may be moistened with soap & water, as you bathe or with a lotion. Feel all areas of breast in an orderly fashion- in the 4 quadrants of breast and the fifth area, the armpit. Start with, say upper outer, then upper inner , lower inner , lower outer quadrants and finally the armpit. Complete examination on both sides and in standing and lying positions.


What to look for :
Remember how your breast feels each month. Look and feel for changes in later sittings.

Look for the following :
A lump, swelling or hardness.
Skin scaliness, redness or irritation.
Dimpling or indrawing of skin anywhere on breast.
Nipple- redness, scaliness, discharge or retraction (indrawing).
Pain- spontaneous or on pressure in any area.

Note down :
Note in your diary, the dates of BSE. Note any of the changes indicated above.

Seek expert help:
Consult your family physician if you notice any changes or if you have any doubt. The family doctor will examine you and if he feels further evaluation is necessary, will order these tests or refer you to a surgeon. The surgeon will do complete physical examination and either simply reassure you that he does not suspect any serious disease at all. If in slightest doubt, few tests will be done. These may also consist of "Mammogram" and/or Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and maybe a simple operation of open Biopsy. At some stage, it will be conclusively established that there is or there is no cancer.

The main purpose of BSE:
The aim of BSE and later medical consultation if needed is to make sure there is no cancer or to detect it in its Early Stage, when It Can be Cured!

Do BSE regularly and help Yourself to fight Breast Cancer and Win !

For some more information visit :,,

Update added in March, 2013:
Watch this Video on B S E –

Dr. M.Mohan Rao,

Consultant in Gen. Surgery, Plastic Surgery & Laparascopic Surgery.



Updated on March 2013.

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