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Breast Health



How often should I do a breast self exam (BSE)?


On a monthly basis, you should be giving yourself a breast exam to look for any changes in breast tissue, such as:


  • Changes in size

  • Feeling a lump

  • Dimpling or puckering of the breast

  • Inversion of the nipple

  • Changes to the breast skin or nipple such as redness or scaliness

  • Nipple discharge 


If you discover any changes in your breast tissue such as a persistent lump, it is very important that you see a physician immediately.


The best time to perform a self-breast exam is 7-10 days after your menstrual period starts because the breasts are the least tender and lumpy.  If they are no longer menstruating, then select the same day of the month (for example the first of the month) and mark it on the calendar or download a phone app to remind yourself when to perform this self-exam.


How often should I go to my doctor for a check-up?


With your yearly physical, a clinical breast exam should be conducted. If any unusual symptoms or changes in your breasts occur before your scheduled visit, do not hesitate to see a doctor immediately.

Does a family history of breast cancer put someone at a higher risk?

Women you have a family history of breast cancer are in a higher risk group but, most women who have breast cancer have no family history. 


When should I start having mammograms, and how often should I have them?

If you are between 40 to 49 years of age, talk to your doctor about your risk of breast cancer, along with the benefits and risks of mammography. 


Women between the ages of 50-69 should have a screening mammogram every 2 years.


If you are 70 or older, talk to your doctor about how often you should have a mammogram.

To book a screening mammogram in Victoria BC, contact the Screening Mammogram Program at 1-800-663-9203 or visit their website at

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