Should You Do a Breast Self-Exam?

Breast examEven with advanced screening tools available, such as mammograms, some breast cancers are still found through physical exams.

While organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the United States Preventive Services Task Force no longer recommend doing breast self-exams, they do suggest paying attention to what your breasts look and feel like and contacting your health care provider if you notice any changes.

What to Watch For

Report any of these visible changes to your health care provider:

  • The skin of your breast dimples, puckers, or bulges
  • Swelling, redness, or a rash on your nipple or breast
  • Change in the size or shape of your breast
  • Changes with your nipple, such as pushing inward instead of sticking out
  • Fluid coming out of one or both of your nipples that’s watery, milky, yellowish, or bloody

Contact your provider if you feel any of these changes:

  • A lump or hard knot inside your breast or armpit
  • An area that feels thick inside your breast or armpit
  • Pain in one spot of your breast that doesn’t go away
  • Any change that occurs on one breast that feels different from your other breast

The Next Step

If you notice a lump or change, don’t get alarmed. These signs usually don't mean that you have breast cancer. There are common noncancerous breast conditions that can cause symptoms, too. The only way to find out for sure is by making an appointment with your doctor to get checked.

Also, be sure to talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms or how often to get them.

Our Breast Cancer Program

Learn more here about our Breast Cancer Program, including our team of specialists ready to create a personalized treatment plan for each and every patient.