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Male Breast Self Exam

How to do a Male Breast Self Exam (MBSE)

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Updated February 11, 2008

Men who are at high risk for breast cancer can benefit from doing a male breast self exam on a regular basis. If breast cancer runs in your family, or you carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, you have a higher risk of developing male breast cancer.

Male breast self examination (MBSE) is to be performed each month. Knowing your overall health, and what your breast normally feels like is the best way to keep an eye on your breast health. Breast tissue extends from under your nipple and areola up toward your armpit.

1. Make a regular monthly date for your MBSE.

Mark the date for your male breast self exam on your calendar. This will help you stay on track and reduce anxiety about normal breast changes.

2. Start in Your Bath or Shower

Run a warm shower or bath. Use soap or bath gel to create a soapy, slippery layer over your breast area. Well-soaped skin will be easier to examine, as it allows your fingers to slide along your skin without rubbing.

3. Check Your Breast Texture

Male Breast Self Exam MBSE
Pam Stephan
Raise your left arm over your head, and if possible, put your left hand on the back of your head. On your right hand, put your index finger, middle finger, and ring finger together as a group. You will use these three fingers to check your left breast. Check the texture of your left breast by starting at the outer edge. Place your three fingers flat onto your skin, press down and move in small circles. Repeat this all around your breast. Don't rush.

4. Check Your Nipple

Pam Stephan
Male Breast Self Exam MBSE
Check your nipple by gently squeezing it between your index and ring fingers. Look for any discharge, puckering, or retraction (pulling inward).

5. Check Both Sides

Reverse your hands and check your right breast, using the same methods as Steps 3 and 4. Both breasts must be checked.

6. Visual Examination

Rinse yourself off and dry with a towel. Stand before a mirror which is large enough for you to see both breasts. Take note of any asymmetry and skin changes (rash, puckers, dimples).

7. How to Handle a Lump

Remember that most lumps in male breasts are due to gynecomastia, which is a benign condition. In addition, 80% of all breast lumps are not cancerous. But if you do feel any change in your breasts that causes concern, see your doctor for a clinical breast exam.
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