Breast self-exam (BSE) is a step-by-step approach a woman can use to look at and feel her breasts to check for anything abnormal.
BSE isn’t recommended as a screening tool for breast cancer. Although it seemed promising when it was first introduced, studies have shown BSE doesn’t offer the early detection and survival benefits of other screening tests .
A meta-analysis combined the results of the 2 largest randomized controlled trials on BSE. It compared women who did routine BSE to those who didn’t and found :
- No difference in breast cancer survival
- Women who did BSE had more false positive results, which led to nearly twice as many biopsies with negative results (no cancer found)
Know what’s normal for you
Although BSE isn’t recommended for breast cancer screening, it’s important to be familiar with the way your breasts normally look and feel. This may help you notice a change.
Learn about the warning signs of breast cancer.
Learn about what to do if you find a lump.
Learn about breast cancer screening.
Learn about Komen’s Breast Self-Awareness Messages.