Breast Self-Exam

June 18th 2011 - Excerpt from: Breast Cancer? Breast Health! the Wise Woman Way
by Susun S. Weed

One self-help technique available to any woman concerned about breast cancer is monthly breast self-exam (BSE). You can add this exam to your established breast self-massage routine. Or you can learn it first and then add breast self-massage. The two techniques work wonderfully together, as well as alone, because both encourage us to focus our attention on our breasts.

Breast cancer causes distinct changes in the breast tissue. When we observe our breasts as closely as we do our faces, and touch them as often, these changes are more obvious. Combined with journeys to the Wise Healer Within (who can alert you to microscopic cellular changes before they can be seen or felt), breast self-exam can provide extremely early detection of cancer, giving you time to take appropriate action to reverse those changes with non-invasive natural remedies.

Women doing breast self-exam with attention and consistency can find cancers as small as one-eighth of an inch and locate masses that may be undetectable otherwise. As many as one-third of all breast cancers found by women couldn’t be imaged by a mammogram. This is especially true of younger women whose denser breast tissues obscure small lumps to the x-ray “eyes” - but not to the touch. Whether you choose to have regular screening mammograms or not, an important aspect of breast health is touching your breasts regularly. Mammograms can’t take the place of knowing your own breasts, whether through breast self-massage, breast self-exam, or a combination of the two.

Before we can notice changes, we have to know what our breasts look and feel like; and that’s what BSE is about. It gives us a format for knowing our breasts intimately; it helps us gauge what’s personally normal and what needs attention. It’s more accurate, and much more affirming, to think of breast self-exam as being about getting to know your breasts, not about trying to find cancer.


In positions 1–6 you are looking at your breasts in a mirror, first standing still, then turning slowly from side to side. The best light is from the side rather than overhead.


Stand in front of a mirror with your arms at your sides.
I see myself, a beautiful goddess.


Stretch both arms over your head.
I welcome the healing rays of the heavens.


Clasp your hands and bring them down behind your head; push your elbows back hard.
I open my heart and my lungs.


Push your palms together hard in front of your forehead.
My body is strong and healthy.


Bend from the hips until your nipples point down. You can rest your hands on your knees or a wall.
My breasts receive the healing rays of the Great Mother, the Earth.


Put your hands on your hips (fingers pointing down) and push down hard.
I am woman, the source of life, creating my own life.


Sit in a bath or on a bed and lean back, or stand in the shower. Raise your right arm and put your hand behind your head. Use a spiral, clock, or row pattern and three levels of touch to explore your right breast thoroughly with your left hand. Change sides; touch your left breast with your right fingerpads.


Lie down and relax. Place a pillow under your right shoulder. Bring your right arm up and tuck it under your head. Bend your knees and roll slightly to the left until your right nipple points up. Using an orange segment or row pattern, touch the outer half of your right breast. Continue with 8b before switching sides.


Keeping your hand firmly in place, roll onto your back and examine the inner half of your breast, using the same pattern. Repeat 8a and 8b on your left breast.

For more information, see Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way by Susun Weed.

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