Breast self examination (BSE) is a simple, painless procedure that women can carry out by themselves at home, to detect any changes occurring in their breast. It has been proven to be an effective early detection technique for breast cancer.
Some facts about BSE:
The focus of a BSE is not on finding a lump, but on NOT finding it. The idea is to familiarize yourself with your breasts in their normal state so that you will notice a difference.
BSE should be performed every month from the age of 20.
Women, who regularly do a BSE, learn to identify how their breasts should feel and are more likely to detect even small changes at an earlier stage.
Women themselves discover nearly 95% of all cancerous lumps.
80% of all breast lumps found through BSE do not turn out to be cancerous.
Doctors are not necessarily as good at finding lumps in a patient's breast as the patient herself.
Women who perform BSE are likely to find lumps as small as ¼ to ½ inch in diameter as opposed to 1 ½ inches in the case of women who do not. This makes a difference of 6 months to a year in the start of treatment, and consequently,in the chances of a favorable outcome.
BSE should be performed at the same time each month. A good time is just as the menstrual period is ending when the breasts are least sensitive.