Published on July 15, 2013

How to: Self breast exams

Here’s what to look for in a breast self exam.

Do you do monthly breast self-exams? Mercy Home Health nurses recommend this simple, noninvasive practice that women can do right in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.

“The American Cancer Society recommends that women, beginning at age 20, should be educated about breast self-exams, including how and when to perform them,” says Catherine Friel, MSN, RN, HHCNS-BC, a clinical nurse specialist with Mercy Home Health.

“Once you get in the habit of examining your breasts regularly, you may be able to detect even small changes, which should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible,” says Friel. “Early detection most certainly saves lives.”

Breast Self-Exam Tips:

  • Examine your breasts at the same time every month. It’s best to do it several days after your period so your breasts are not tender or swollen.
  • Perform breast self-exams in the shower, in front of a mirror or lying down.
  • Report any changes you notice to your doctor. These include lumps, swelling, dimpling, nipple pain, redness or scaliness, skin thickening or a discharge from the nipple.

Get Informed. Get the complete A-Z steps on how to do a proper breast self-exam at home. Visit or call Mercy Home Health at 1.888.690.2551.