204 RLE Procedures

Self Breast Examination


Involves both inspection  and palpation procedures for early detection of disease resulting in a greater chance of cure and less complex treatment.


> To detect early changes in the breast.

> To detect lumps or any abnormalities in the breast.


> Self breast examination should be done 1 week after menstruation.

> Self breast examination should be done at least once a month.


In front of a mirror:

1. Stand before a mirror. Inspect both breasts for anything unusual such as  any changes  from the nipples, puckering, dimpling or scaling of the skin.

2. Watching closely in the mirror, clasps hands behind your head and press hands forward.

3. Next, press hands firmly on hips and bow slightly toward the mirror as you pull y0ur mirrors as you pull your shoulders and elbows up.


a. Stand before a mirror

  • Inspection of breast in front of the mirror aids in visualization of the breast which can easily detect unusual changes of the breast.
  • Clasping hands behind the head and pressing forward exposes both breasts and allows the breast to hang to detect for any unusualities.This examines the lateral and under surfaces of each breast.
  • Pressing the hands firmly on hips tightens the pectoral muscles. Contraction of the pectoral muscles exaggerates signs of retraction or skin flattering. Slight bowing allows the breast to hang freely.

4. While in the shower:

5. Raise left arm. Use three or four fingers of your right hand to explore your left breast firmly, carefully and thoroughly. Beginning at the outer part edge, press the flat part of your portion. Feel any unusual lump or mass under the skin. Pay attention between the breast and armpit.

6. Gently squeeze the nipple and look for discharges.

7. Do the same with the other breast.


  • Done in the shower because soapy hands glides more easily wet skin thus palpating the breast with ease.
  • Squeezing the nipple detects for abnormal discharges.
  • To examine the other breast.

Supine Position:

8. Lie flat on your back, left arm over your head and a pillow or folded towel under your left shoulder. This position flattens the breast and makes it clear to examine. Repeat steps 4 & 5. Use the same circular motion as described earlier.


  • Lying flat on bed distributes breast evenly on chest. The folded towel exposes the breast further. For  thorough examination of the breast.
  • To examine the other breast.


1. Observe the nipple and areola for ulceration, nodules, swelling and discharges.

2. Palpate the areola for nodule and tenderness.


  • To detect any abnormalities.
  • To detect any abnormalities.


Kozier, Barbara, Fundamentals of Nursing. Philippines: Pearson Education South Asia PTE LTDF. 2004. pp.986-987