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Early Detection of Breast Cancer with BSE Technique

Carrying out routine breast self-examination is an important step in discovering whether there are any physical changes in the breasts. One of the steps to detect this condition is to do a breast self-examination (BSE). Check out how to do it below.

Early Detection of Breast Cancer with BSE Technique

What is BSE?

Breast self-examination (BSE) is an independent examination performed by women to check whether there are changes or abnormalities in the breasts.

The purpose of BSE is to check for lumps, problems with the breast tissue, or other signs that may be early signs of breast cancer.

Breast self-examination is recommended for all women from the age of 20. Performing BSE can help prevent breast cancer by identifying the condition early so that care and treatment can be carried out before the cancer spreads further.

How to do BSE?

The following are ways of checking that you can do based on directions from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, including:

1. REALIZE in front of the mirror

Things to watch out for when examining your breasts in the mirror:

First Position

  • Stand straight in front of the mirror, remove your top clothes.
  • After that, raise both arms up and then bend your elbows. Place your hands behind your head and push your elbows forward.
  • Observe if there are changes or abnormalities in the breast, including the shape of the breast, nipples, and the skin surface of the breast.
  • Don’t worry if the size of the right and left breasts is not symmetrical, because this is normal.

Second Position

  • Place your hands on your hips and lean your shoulders forward.
  • Push your elbows forward while contracting your chest muscles.
  • Observe the condition of the breast in a state like hanging.
  • Look at all surfaces of the breast including the bottom, nipples, up to around the armpits.

Third Position

  • Raise your left arm up
  • Then, bend your left elbow and touch the top of your back or shoulder
  • The right hand examines the left breast including the lower part of the breast and around the armpit.
  • Use the fingertips of your right hand to feel the breast in an up and down motion, then in a circular motion, and then in a straight motion from the tip of the breast to the nipple.
  • Repeat the technique to examine the right breast with the left hand.

Fourth Position

  • Stand up straight.
  • Check the nipples by gently pinching both nipples.
  • Pay attention if any liquid comes out.
  • If there is no fluid, it means normal breasts.
  • If there is fluid, you should immediately consult a doctor.

Also Read: 13 Breast Cancer Myths You Should Not Believe

2. BE AWARE while bathing

You can also do a breast self-examination, the steps are:

  • Use soap suds to make it easier to move your hands to feel if there is a lump in your breast.
  • Raise your right hand up and place it behind your head.
  • Use your left hand to feel the right breast.
  • Make circular motions gently across the surface of the breast.
  • Press gently on the breast.
  • Feel for lumps or other unusual signs.
  • Repeat the movement to check the other side of the breast again.

3. REALIZE in a lying position

Prepare a pillow and lotion or essential oil.

  • Place a pillow under your shoulders and lie down.
  • Position the right hand under the head.
  • Check the right breast with the left hand that has been given lotion or essential oil.
  • Make a circular motion from the 12 o’clock point to the number 1 point and continue one circle.
  • Repeat the movement on the other breast.
  • Don’t forget to check the nipples and armpits too.

Check the breasts with light, medium, then a little firm pressure. Press the nipples as well and observe if any liquid comes out. If you feel a lump, don’t panic and it’s best to finish examining both breasts first.

Why Should You Do BSE?

BSE is carried out to increase awareness of breast health and prevent the dangers of breast cancer from an early age. Women who do this examination will understand whether there is a lump in the breast or other signs that lead to breast cancer risk.

Most new breast cancer patients have their condition checked when they are already in an advanced stage of cancer. Therefore, this breast examination is considered to be the right first step to help detect breast cancer as early as possible.

Some women report early signs of breast cancer after doing breast self-exams. After that, the doctor will carry out further tests to diagnose breast cancer or other disorders.

This action helps care and treatment before the patient’s condition worsens.

Also Read: 8 Characteristics of Breast Cancer that are Important for You to Recognize

When Should You Do BSE?

Breast self-examination needs to be done as early as possible, starting at the age of 20.

Based on recommendations from the Indonesian Cancer Foundation, BSE should be done 7-10 days after menstruation. At this time, your breasts tend to be in normal condition. The entire inspection only takes about 7 minutes.

When you reach the age of 50 and over or have a family history of breast cancer, these checks need to be done more frequently.

How Often Does BSE Need to Be Done?

The more often you do breast exams, the more proficient you will become and the easier this activity will become. In addition, it will be easier for you to notice if there are changes in your breasts.

It is recommended that you do this examination once a month at the same time to familiarize yourself with the appearance and shape of your breasts. It is important to carry out the inspection at the same time each month.

Please note, a woman’s body can experience hormone fluctuations due to the menstrual cycle so that it can affect breast tissue.

You may find a lump at one time, but then it goes away on its own. Checking at the same time can minimize this.

If you have an abnormal menstrual cycle or have not had your period, then choose a day that is easy to remember, such as the first or last day of each month.

However, avoid doing this examination during menstruation because at that time you are experiencing hormonal changes that cause changes in breast tissue. Breasts tend to swell and tighten, so you don’t get the actual breast condition.

Also Read: 12 ways to prevent breast cancer that women need to know

If there is a lump or change in the breast

You don’t need to panic if you find a lump or change in your breasts, because this condition can be caused by many things. Only a few cases of breast lumps are cancerous.

However, it wouldn’t hurt you to keep checking with your doctor as soon as you notice a change in your breasts. This step is taken to provide treatment as early as possible if the lumps and oddities are caused by cancer.

The following are some conditions that indicate you need to see a doctor immediately, including:

  • Visible changes on the surface of the skin of the breast, such as skin that is wrinkled or has depressions.
  • There is a hard lump in the breast or armpit.
  • Discharge from your nipples when you are not breastfeeding.
  • Bleeding from the nipples.
  • There is a change in the size and shape of the breast, especially when lifting the breast or moving the arm.
  • There are parts of the nipple that redden or become moist.
  • Changes in the shape of the nipple, such as turning inwards.
  • A rash appears around the nipples.
  • Pain or discomfort in the breast that doesn’t get better.

Examination to the doctor needs to be done to determine the cause of changes and lumps in the breast.

During the consultation, the doctor may advise you to undergo a physical examination and supporting examinations, such as ultrasound, mammograms, CT scansor MRIs.

If conditions are found that lead to cancer, your doctor may recommend that you undergo a biopsy examination.

BSE is a simple method that anyone can do to detect changes that occur in the breasts.

The earlier changes in the breast are known, the sooner the cause is known and the treatment plan can provide maximum results.

  1. Anonymous. 2023. Early Detection of Breast Cancer with BSE and SADANIS (Accessed March 3, 2023).
  2. Anonymous. 2022. Breast Self-Exam. (Accessed March 3, 2023).
  3. Anonymous. 2021. Breast Self Exam. (Accessed March 3, 2023).
  4. Anonymous. 2016. Six Steps to BSE for Early Detection of Breast Cancer. (Accessed March 3, 2023).
  5. Anonymous. 2020. Brest self-exam for breast awareness. (Accessed March 3, 2023).
  6. Ula, Zumrotul. 2019. REALIZE (Breast Self-Examination) As Early Detection Of Breast Cancer. (Accessed March 3, 2023).

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