Basic Facts About Breast Health:
Breast Self Exams

All women should check their breasts for lumps, thicknesses and other changes every month. By examining your breasts regularly, you will know how your breasts normally feel. If a change should happen in your breasts, you will be able to identify it and let your doctor know.

  • Check your breasts about one week after your period. Checking your breasts in the shower can be a convenient way to get the self exam into your routine.
  • Press firmly with the pads of your fingers. Move your left hand over your right breast in a circle. Make sure to check all over and include the armpit.
  • Now check your left breast with your right hand in the same way.
  • You also should look at your breasts in a mirror. Look for any changes in how your breasts look.

If you find any lumps, thickenings or changes, tell your doctor right away. Most breast lumps are not cancer, but you don't know if you don't ask. Breast cancer may be successfully treated if you find it early.

This information was contributed by the American Cancer Society (ACS). For more information visit the the ACS website.

The American Cancer Society believes the use of mammography, clinical breast examination and breast self-examination offers women the best opportunity for reducing the breast cancer death rate through early detection. This combined approach is clearly better than any one examination. The American Cancer Society does not recommend relying solely on any of these methods.

Basic Facts About Breast Health:


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.