What does breast self-exam (BSE) refer to?

Assoc. Prof. Didem Öncel Yakar

Dr Öncel Yakar’s comments

Question: What does breast self-exam (BSE) mean?
Answer: BSE is the breast examination that women perform at home without consulting any health institution or official. Breast tissue is in a state of constant change every month depending on the hormonal changes it is exposed to during the menstrual period and at different stages of life. It is not possible to go to a health institution constantly for clinical examination by doctors, because it is not compatible with daily practice and because of the psychological and economic burden it brings. For this reason, BSE is a very valuable diagnostic method for women to examine their own breasts in different positions, sitting and lying in front of the mirror, on a certain day of each month. Since the woman who adopts regular BSE habit will recognize her own breast tissue over time, she will notice minor changes and take the first step for early diagnosis. Every woman undergoing clinical examination is taught how to perform BSE by her physician.

Breast health plays an important role in every woman’s life. This is based on the facts that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and that early diagnosis and treatment significantly increase life expectancy thanks to screening methods. While stricter follow-up and examination protocols are applied for women with certain risk factors, women with no risk factors should also have breast screenings regularly. Standard breast screening guidelines recommend that women should perform breast self-examination from the age of 20, and additionally, from the age of 40, breast imaging with clinical examination and mammography once a year. In this section, especially in the twenty-fifth year of her profession and as a female surgeon, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Didem Öncel Yakar answers questions frequently asked by you. We are with you to manage your routine annual screenings and appropriate examination-surgery-treatment processes at our private practice located in Ataşehir-Istanbul.