Breast Cancer Awareness
Breast Cancer Q & A of the Day: Is it necessary to do monthly breast self-exam?
Breast self-exam (BSE) has been widely hailed as a technique that can help women find breast cancer early—with the implication that finding it early will save lives. There's just one problem: No study ever has found that BSE reduces breast cancer deaths. That's why after many years of supporting BSE, the American Cancer Society, in May 2003, revised itsbreast cancer screening guidelines and now calls BSE optional.
Many women do find their cancers themselves. But very few find them while doing BSE. More typically, the woman just rolled over in bed, or felt a lump while soaping up in the shower, or had it pointed out by a lover.
This is why it is important for women to become acquainted with their breasts, to know what they look like, and to know what lumps and bumps are normal for them. (It's best to do this soaped up in the shower or bath.) But there's a crucial difference between getting acquainted with your breasts and BSE. BSE is like a search-and-destroy mission. It often makes women tense. And it's all about trying to find cancer. In contrast, getting acquainted with your breasts gives you a good, integrated sense of your body, which will help you know when something doesn't feel right. Some women like to do BSE, and that's fine. But no one should be made to feel guilty for not doing it—especially if they are well acquainted with their breasts.
This post is courtesy of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, dedicated to eradicating breast cancer and improving the quality of women's health through innovative research, education and advocacy.To support this important cause and donate, visit www.dslrf.org.
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