What is a breast self-exam?

A breast self-exam (BSE) involves a woman examining her own breasts. Regular self-exam helps a woman become familiar with the normal look and feel of her breast tissue. A breast self-exam involves visually looking at the skin, breast tissue, nipples, and underarms as well as manually palpating all breast tissue to determine the normal geography of individual breast tissue. When a woman regularly examines her breasts and knows their normal look and feel, she can more easily detect small changes to notify her health care provider.
h3>Who should do breast self-exam?

Woman using a MammaCare Self Breast Exam KitMost major cancer organizations agree that breast self-exam is an option for women beginning at age 20. Early practice of breast self-exam can establish a baseline for how a woman’s breasts normally look and feel, enabling her to more easily detect changes later on. Women in their 20s, for whom mammography is inappropriate, may find that manual examination (either self-exam or clinical exam) is the only screening method available to them. As an advocate for her own health, a woman may choose to learn and perform BSE to participate in the early detection of abnormal breast changes.

What is the difference between breast self-awareness and breast self-exam?

“Breast self-awareness” is a term that describes an overall understanding of breast health and familiarity with the normal look and feel of one’s own breasts. “Breast self-exam” is one component of – and leads directly to – breast self-awareness; during the course of self-examination a woman increases her awareness of the normal look and feel of her breasts. As an active participant in her health, a woman can learn and perform best-practice BSE to improve her breast self-awareness.

Is every kind of self-exam the same?

No. While any self-exam is better than no self-exam, some methods are better at improving breast self-awarness. The MammaCare Method of breast self-exam is the only scientifically-validated method that teaches fingers what to feel for. The ability to touch silicone breast models specifically engineered to feel like real breast structures helps women identify normal structures in their own breasts and detect any abnormal changes.

How do I learn MammaCare breast self-exam?

Any woman can learn to do MammaCare breast self-exam (BSE). Find one of the many certified MammaCare BSE Instructors by visiting the MammaCare Affiliates page. Learning kits allow women to palpate the tactually-accurate breast models and learn exam techniques from the instructional DVD in the privacy of their own homes. Find out more about MammaCare BSE with the MammaCare Personal Learning System.


American Cancer Society. (2014). Breast Cancer Prevention and Early Detection. PDF

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2011). Breast cancer screening. Practice Bulletin, 122(118), 372-382. PDF

Breastcancer.org  https://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/20090423b