My aunt says I should learn to do a breast self-exam. What is this and why
do I need it? – Graciela*
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 menstrual cycle. 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