Should I Do a Breast Self-Exam?
My aunt says I should learn to do a breast self-exam. What is this and why do I need it?
Your aunt is partly right: breast self-exams ("BSE" for short) can be helpful for women. But doctors don't usually suggest them for teen girls.
There are a couple of reasons why:
- Breast problems like cancer are extremely rare in teen girls. If your doctor is worried about your breast health, he or she will do a breast exam and keep an eye on you through regular office visits.
- Your breasts are still growing and changing. The reason women do breast self-exams is to learn what's normal for their breasts. But during the teen years, what's "normal" can change based on where a girl is in her development. To make things more confusing, your breasts can feel different depending on where you are in your . If you've been getting your period for a while, you might notice that they feel tender or swollen just before or during your period.
It's good to get used to the way your breasts normally look and feel. A good way to do that is to try this: When you're lying down, lightly touch your breasts with your fingertips. You might be surprised at how they feel. Breasts are a complex system of ducts and tissue so you'll notice normal lumps and bumps.
At some point your twenties, your doctor will probably show you how to do a BSE. Until then, you only need to worry about your breasts if you notice these problems:
- pain in your breast that isn't related to your period
- a new lump, bump, or other change in your breast
- a red, hot, or swollen breast
- fluid or bloody discharge from your nipple
- a lump in your armpit or near your collarbone
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2013
- Why Are My Breasts Sore?
- My Breasts Ache During My Period. What Can I Do?
- How Can You Tell if Breast Tenderness Is Pregnancy or a Period?
- Does Touching a Girl's Breasts Make Them Grow?
- Is It OK to Wear a Bra While Sleeping?
- Can Bras Affect Breast Growth?
- Finding the Right Bra
- Why Are My Breasts Different Sizes?
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Note: All information on TeensHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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