According to Kenya’s Ministry of Health, breast cancer claims about 7 Kenyan women’s lives daily, ranking second among the country’s fatal cancers. Despite the gloomy statistics, we have great news for you! There’s a game-changer that can help you fight the illness: Early detection. And what better way than the ability to examine your breasts by yourself? Today’s article will empower you with a step-by-step guide on performing a breast self-exam (BSE), putting you a step further into achieving a breast cancer-free future. Read on.

Everything You Need to Know About Breast Self-Exams

At Waterfront Clinic, we understand that life can get busy, making it challenging to go for hospital health checks. And because we care about your health and well-being, we’ve got you covered with DIY tips to join the fight against breast cancer. Of course, we’re always thrilled to host you for a thorough checkup. So, when you have time, please book an appointment with our caring professionals. But when your schedule gets in the way, turn to this starter pack our experts have compiled for you.

Why Is a Breast Self-Exam Important?

Knowing how to self-examine your breasts makes you accustomed to your body. Having this power helps you achieve life-saving benefits like the following:

  • You’ll notice changes and anomalies early.
  • Catching the abnormalities early enough helps increase your chances of treatment and survival.
  • A self-exam empowers you to perform the assessment yourself without a doctor.
  • Consistency is key: Knowing how to self-exam ensures you can do it throughout the year instead of waiting only for the Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October.

What’s the Best Time to Perform a Breast Exam?

Once monthly is ideal for a breast self-exam. As to what time is advisable, please do it after your period. Why? Hormonal changes during the cycle may cause breast soreness, tenderness, and lumps before or during your period, which subside right after. Therefore, a self-exam before or during this time may yield false results and unnecessary alarm. If you no longer have menstrual cycles, pick a particular date monthly. And if you’re expecting, please call +254 768 368 266 to talk to our gynecologist to help you with the exam.

How to Perform a Breast Self-Exam

A breast self-exam is simple; you don’t need special equipment or expertise, just yourself and a mirror. You can also ask your partner to help. Here is our step-by-step guide on how to perform a thorough breast self-exam:

  • Step One: Go for comfort and privacy when choosing the room to use. Also, ensure the space is well-lit and has a mirror.
  • Step Two: Observation. With your arms on your sides, stand in front of the mirror and scrutinize your breasts for any changes or abnormal appearances. Please repeat this step with your arms overhead and your hands pressed on your hips. The different postures will reveal subtle changes you may miss in one.
  • Step Three: Lie Down and Use Your Hands.
    While lying on your back, place a pillow below your right shoulder with your right arm behind your head. With your left hand, examine your right breast using the pads of your fingers by applying different pressure levels in a circular motion. Ensure you cover the entire breast starting from the outside in.
  • Step Four: Don’t Forget the Nipples.
    Squeeze your nipple gently to check for any unusual discharge. While at it, please take note of any color, shape, or direction changes.
  • Step Five: Repeat steps three and four for the left breast.
  • Step Six: Repeat a Visual Inspection
    Remember step one? Repeat it while standing in front of the mirror with your arms raised overhead, and look out for any changes.

What Should You Look Out For?

A breast exam aims to identify abnormalities in your breast. Among the things to look out for are the following:

  • Unusual nipple discharge or color change.
  • Abnormal swelling or rashes.
  • Changes in breast size, shape, symmetry, or color.
  • Pain.
  • A shift in the skin: Redness, unusual dimples, wrinkles, or changes in the texture.

Helpful Breast-Exam FAQs

You’ve conducted your DIY breast exam at home; what next? Here are vital FAQs to help you know what to do about the results and the way forward.

  • FAQ 1: What happens when I discover any of the listed anomalies?
    Seek medical attention immediately if you encounter any unusual occurrences during the self-exam.
  • FAQ2: Does a lump mean I have breast cancer?
    No, a lump doesn’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Some, including tenderness, could be due to other issues like contraceptives, pregnancy, infection, injury, post-surgery effects, and cysts. Therefore, don’t panic when you notice an anomaly. Please get in touch with us, and we’ll examine you further. If removed, we’ll also subject the lump to further lab tests to determine its effects.
  • FAQ 3: Are all lumps cancerous?
    No, some swellings are benign (cancer-free).
  • FAQ 4: Can someone help me perform the exam?
    Yes, you can ask your partner to do the exam on your behalf.


Breast self-exams will help you achieve periodic checkups seamlessly, as they’re handy if you’re busy, a frequent traveler, or indisposed. This life-saving habit will help you familiarize yourself with your body, helping you catch abnormalities and changes soon. The timely discovery of anomalies increases your chances of early detection, treatment, recovery, and alleviating unnecessary alarm. Should you need help with the exam or identify anything unusual, please contact us right away, and our caring practitioners will attend to you to steer you toward optimal health and peace of mind. You can WhatsApp us or reach us via