How to Do a Breast Self-Exam

Learn how to do a breast self-exam properly -- then do it! -- in this breast cancer awareness video with expert Marisa Weiss, MD.

Hi, I’m Doctor Marisa Weiss, president and founder of breastcancer.org. I’m also a practicing oncologist, and mom, and also a breast cancer survivor. So I’m happy to share information with you today that could help protect your life against breast cancer. Examining yourself. Breast self-examination is an important tool you have available to you. It’s pretty convenient. You don’t need to make an appointment. And it’s recommended that you do it on a regular basis. About once a month. Don’t do it right before you get your period because things get particularly lumpy, bumpy than and its hard to know what you’re feeling. So wait about a week after your period starts before you examine yourself. You want to examine all of each breast. From front to back, side to side, and the top to the bottom. And you need to use a variable amount of pressure in order to feel all of each breast. And you use a circular motion with your two fingers. You can go up and down like this or you can go in a spiral starting in the middle and fanning out to the outer aspect of the breast. While you’re examining yourself you might think oh my god I feel a million things in here. Just know that the breast is naturally lumpy, bumpy and it can have various neighborhoods to it. So areas feel like a sandy beach. Other areas might feel like there rocks in there. What you’re looking for is your regular natural way your breast are and you’re also looking for differences. If something stands out that’s not like the background breast tissue. Like a lump in a bowl of oatmeal. That’s a different finding and if something persists and it worries you bring it to the attention of your doctor.