The Big Bam! Self- Exam

Menstruating women should perform the BSE a week after they start their periods. Pregnant, lactating and menopausal women should continue to perform the exam on a monthly basis. In addition, each woman should have her breasts examined by a doctor once a year.

Monthly BSE is not designed to diagnose breast cancer, but to alert you to changes in breast tissue. Any change should be reported immediately to your doctor. Do not panic: most lumps are not cancerous.

The Big Bam! Self-Exam Can Save Your Life! Nearly 90% of all breast cancers are discovered through self-examination.


Stand in front of a mirror with your hands on your hips.

Examine your breasts. Look for changes in size, shape or contour as well as any dimpling, puckering or changes in your skin.

Repeat with arms raised above your head, and then again while bent forward with your arms back on hips.

Look for discharge from your nipples.


Lie down on your back. Place a pillow under your shoulders and right hand behind your head to help spread out the breast tissue.

Begin with your left hand on your right breast. Keeping our fingers flat, using the pads of your fingertips, check the entire area by applying pressure and moving in a circular, spiraling motion from your underarm to collarbone, to the bottom of your breast (bra line), working your way in towards the nipple.

Feel for lumps or thickening of breast tissue. Use right hand for left breast and repeat the exam.

Soap your right breast.
Use the same circular technique as for the lying down exam. Or, using your finger pads, move in vertical lines up and down, from your collarbone to below your bra line, covering the entire area from armpit to breastbone.

Feel for lumps or changes in breast tissue. Repeat for left breast.

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