Which of the following statements by a 25-year-old woman indicates that she understands breast self-examinations (BSE)?

"I will feel my breast beginning at the nipple and moving in circles toward the outer edge of my breast."
"I will look for changes in the shape or appearance of my breasts in front of a mirror."
"I will perform the BSE seven to ten days after the onset of menses."

Explanation

• The best time to do a breast self-examination is after a woman's period when the breasts are not swollen or tender.

• A BSE should be done 7–10 days after the onset of menses. If the patient has irregular patterns of menstruation, it should be done on the same day of each month.

• The breasts should be visually inspected for changes in shape, swelling, or irregularities in skin texture or dimpling while standing in front of a mirror.

• The breasts should be felt with the fingers beginning at the nipple and moving in larger and larger circles until reaching the outer edge of the breast. The fingers can also be moved up and down vertically in rows. The entire breast should be felt from the collarbone to the abdomen.

• The finger pads or the top third of each finger should be used to do a BSE.

• Wearing gloves is not necessary when performing a BSE.

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