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Breast Cancer Testing


hat does BSE stand for?

Breast Self Examination. This is a procedure that all women (and men) should do once a month, every month, starting now. The earlier you start it, the better you will understand your breasts… and the easier it will be for you to detect something that is different, which should be checked out by your personal health care provider.

How do you do BSE?

Take a look at Breast Self-Examination. It will show you how to do BSE.

At what age should you start Breast Self Examination?

What age are you now? It is never too early to start doing BSE. The earlier you start, the better you will be when you are doing it.

Since teenage girls' breasts usually have dense tissue, how can you tell the difference between lumpy tissue and tumors?

You can't. No one can. That is why BSE is so critical. Normal, lumpy tissue will always be there, and you will be able to recognize it. What you are looking for is a CHANGE in the tissue. You are looking for something that is DIFFERENT from what you are used to. There are always lumps in the breast, but a new one should attract your attention immediately.

How long does a BSE take?

A person that has larger breasts should take a longer time to do it, simply because there is more volume that must be checked. Set aside twenty to thirty minutes to do it the first time, and as you get more efficient at it, you will be able to do it in less time. You can be doing BSE while you are reading or watching TV, or sometimes couples work it into their personal time together. About 90 percent of the women that have breast masses tell the doctor about them, rather than the doctor finds them first. Of those 90 percent, about half of the masses were discovered by their partners.

How can you tell if you have a lump in a woman's breast? Isn't there lumps already?

Yes, there usually are. BSE allows you to get used to the ones that are there now, and will allow you to notice any NEW ones that might come about.

Can lumps in the breast occur behind the nipple?

Yes, That is a frequently omitted area while doing BSE. This is especially true for men.

What exactly is a mammogram?

("mammo" = 'breast' and "gram" = 'picture') An x-ray of the breast. It is usually done on a machine that uses a very low dosage of radiation, and it can detect very small malignancies in the breast.

How effective are mammograms? (for detecting breast cancer)

They are highly effective, and getting better all the time.