Detect Breast Cancer Early: Performing Breast Self-Exams

Breast exams aren’t only for those over the age of 40. Women should begin performing breast self-exams (BSE) starting at age 20. BSE’s help you learn the normal feel and look of your breasts, so you can notify your doctor if you notice any irregularities.

They can be performed in the shower, in front of a mirror or lying down. The National Breast Cancer website provides a great how-to for each of these options.

Speak with your doctor if you notice or experience any of these symptoms: nipple tenderness, unexplained change in the breast size or look, a lump or thickening in the breast or near your underarm or changes in breast skin texture (sometimes described as orange peel texture).

If you feel an abnormality, most of the time, these conditions are not due to cancer. However, it is imperative that you have the issue checked out.

If you don’t notice symptoms of breast cancer, you should still undergo routine check-ups with your OB/GYN. If you’re over 40, this includes a mammogram exam.

Still not sure how to get started? The National Breast Cancer Foundation lets you create your own early detection plan. Set up one today and be prepared if symptoms arise.

If after an exam you feel like you need to see a physician, you can find a great list of women’s health providers at


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