Breast self-exams, and periodic clinical breast exams and screenings with your doctor, are an important way to find and successfully treat breast problems and cancer early. Breast changes are often normal and routine breast self-exams are still the best medicine to be sure.
Only you know what’s normal for you. Only your doctor knows what you should worry about.
Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform a breast self-exam at least once a month. Here are important guidelines:
- Pick the same time of the month. It is important to select the same time every month so you will be able to distinguish between a normal change and something that feels different.
- Premenopausal women. Do your exam toward the end of your menstrual period. The end of the menstrual cycle is the time when hormonal changes have the least influence on breast tissue, and the breasts are the least tender.
- Postmenopausal women. Consistently perform your breast self-exam on the same day every month.
- Perform the exam again that same day but lying down. This way you will develop a feeling for your breasts in a different position, allowing for greater knowledge of the way your breasts feel.