Breast Self Examination (BSE)

Breast self-exams save lives
Starting at age 20, breast self-examination (BSE) should be done once a month so you become familiar with the usual appearance and feel of your breasts. Familiarity makes it easier to notice any changes in the breast from one month to another. Early discovery of a change from what is “normal” is the main idea behind BSE.

If you menstruate, the best time to do BSE is two or three days after your period ends, when your breasts are least likely to be tender or swollen. If you no longer menstruate, pick a day, such as the first of each month, to remind yourself it is time to do BSE.

Stand before a mirror.
Inspect both breasts for anything unusual such as discharge from the nipples, puckering, dimpling or scaling of the skin.

The next two steps will emphasize any change in the shape or contour of your breasts. As you do them you should be able to feel your chest muscles tighten.

Watching closely in the mirror, clasp hands behind your head and press hands forward.

Next, press hands firmly on hips and bow slightly toward your mirror as you pull your shoulders and elbows forward.

To examine your left breast, lie flat on your back, left arm over your head with a pillow or folded towel under your left shoulder. This position flattens the breast and makes it easier to examine. Use three or four fingers side by side to make small circles, moving the circles slowly across your breast. Gradually work from top to bottom, overlapping each row to cover the entire breast. Pay special attention to the area between the breast and the armpit, including the armpit itself. Feel for any unusual lump or mass under the skin. Reposition to check your right breast.

You may examine yourself while showering. Either way, be consistent in your examination method and pattern.

If you notice any change a lump, discharge, dimpling or anything unusual call your Gundersen primary care provider for advice and direction.

Schedule a Mammogram

Schedule a Mammogram

Talk to your primary care provider today:

Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center - La Crosse Clinic
Call (608) 775-6680 or (608) 775-6680 or
  (800) 362-9567, ext. 56680 (800) 362-9567, ext. 56680
  1900 South Avenue
  La Crosse, WI 54601
  Get directions
Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center - Onalaska Clinic
Call (608) 775-8151 or (608) 775-8151 or
  (800) 362-9567, ext. 58151 (800) 362-9567, ext. 58151
  3111 Gundersen Dr.
  Onalaska, WI 54650
  Get directions
Gundersen Prairie du Chien Clinic
Call (608) 326-6466 (608) 326-6466
  610 East Taylor St.
  Prairie du Chien, WI 53821
  Get directions
Gundersen Sparta Clinic
Call (608) 269-6731 (608) 269-6731
  315 West Oak St.
  Sparta, WI 54656
  Get directions
Gundersen Tomah Clinic
Call (608) 372-4111 (608) 372-4111
  1330 North Superior Ave.
  Tomah, WI 54660
  Get directions
Gundersen Viroqua Clinic
Call (608) 637-3195 (608) 637-3195
  407 South Main St.
  Viroqua, WI 54665
  Get directions
Gundersen Tri-County Hospital and Clinics Whitehall
Call (715) 538-4355 (715) 538-4355
  18606 Ervin St.
  Whitehall, WI 54773
  Get directions
Gundersen Decorah Clinic
Call (563) 382-3140 (563) 382-3140
  1830 State Hwy. 9
  Decorah, IA 52101
  Get directions
Palmer Lutheran Health Center
Call (563) 422-3817 (563) 422-3817
  110 Jefferson St.
  West Union, IA 52175
  Get directions
Gundersen Tri-County Hospital and Clinics Blair
Call (608) 989-2505 (608) 989-2505
  420 South Peterson Ave.
  Blair, WI 54616
  Get directions
Gundersen Calmar Clinic
Call (563) 562-3211 (563) 562-3211
  106 E Main St.
  Calmar, Iowa 52132
  Get directions
Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics Elroy
Call (608) 462-4116 (608) 462-4116
  1705 Omaha St.
  Elroy, WI 53929
  Get directions
Gundersen Fayette Clinic
Call (563) 425-3381 (563) 425-3381
  110 King St.
  Fayette, IA 52142
  Get directions
Gundersen Galesville Clinic
Call (608) 582-2025 (608) 582-2025
  16812 South Main St.
  Galesville, WI 54630
  Get directions
Gundersen Harmony Clinic
Call (507) 886-8888 (507) 886-8888
  805 Main Avenue South
  Harmony, MN 55939
  Get directions
Gundersen Houston Clinic
Call (507) 896-6000 (507) 896-6000
  511 East Maple St.
  Houston, MN 55943
  Get directions
Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics Hillsboro
Call (608) 489-8280 (608) 489-8280
  400 Water Ave.
  Hillsboro, WI 54634
  Get directions
Gundersen Tri-County Hospital and Clinics Independence
Call (715) 985-2351 (715) 985-2351
  35791 Osseo Road
  Independence, WI 54747
  Get directions
Gundersen La Crescent Clinic
Call (507) 895-6610 (507) 895-6610
  226 North 2nd St.
  La Crescent, MN 55947
  Get directions
Gundersen Lansing Clinic
Call (563) 538-4874 (563) 538-4874
  50 North Fourth St.
  Lansing, IA 52151
  Get directions
Gundersen Postville Clinic
Call (563) 864-7512 (563) 864-7512
  111 South Reynolds St.
  Postville, IA 52162
  Get directions
Gundersen Spring Grove Clinic
Call (507) 498-3302 (507) 498-3302
  123 Fifth Avenue SE
  Spring Grove, MN 55974
  Get directions
Gundersen Waukon Clinic
Call (563) 568-3000 (563) 568-3000
  120 2nd Ave. SE
  Waukon, IA 52172
  Get directions
Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics Wonewoc
Call (608) 464-3575 (608) 464-3575
  301 Railroad St.
  Wonewoc, WI 53968
  Get directions

Your Cancer Advocate

“I am a medical oncologist and know how critical it can be to catch cancer in its earliest stages. With a family history of breast cancer, I’ve always been very good about going in for mammograms and doing regular self-exams and when I found a lump, I had it checked out right away. Every day I’m thankful the cancer was found early. If I had put off that appointment for a couple more months, it could have been a much different story.
- Leah Dietrich, MD, Gundersen Health System medical oncologist

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