The Breast Self Exam (BSE) is an important part of taking care of your body in the fight against breast cancer.
If you’re reading this before your BA I’d advise you to get to know your girls.
To get the best from a breast self exam you need to know what’s normal for you.
When you know what's normal for you, you will know what's not normal for you and you can seek the advice and support of a medical professional at the earliest opportunity.
BSE after a BA
You may be asking if (and how) you can still do a breast self exam after you’ve got implants.
Of course you can!
Implants can get in the way of mammograms but they do not affect self examination.
Little known fact, but breast implants can actually aid a BSE! Implants are placed under your breast tissue and that pushes the breast tissue forward, which makes it easier to detect any lumps and bumps in your own breast tissue.
The way you perform a BSE (check out the BreastCancer.org website for details on the technique) after a BA is EXACTLY the same.
You should perform a BSE at least monthly.
There will be a brief hiatus in BSE after your surgery as you need to be completely healed before you continue with the exams. Ask your surgeon for their input on the best time to re-start your breast self exams after your surgery.
There are some post-BA complications (e.g. capsular contracture) that can cause changes in the look or feel of your breasts. These kinds of changes can be easily confused with the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, leaving you wondering if something is a BA complication or a sign of cancer.
Contact your general physician if, upon self examination, you feel anything different or new for you. It's also a good idea to keep your surgeon in the loop so you can be guided to the right professional care.
It's a sad fact, but around 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
Implants don't stop you from performing a BSE so you can stay breast aware by regularly checking your breasts. Protect your investment, but more importantly protect your health.