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Do You Perform Your Monthly Breast Self Exam?

By July 22, 2008 - 9:02am
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Found this article that says monthly breast self exams may not be what they used to.

A review by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research, claims there’s no evidence that self-exams actually reduce breast cancer deaths. The often-recommended monthly chore may even do more harm than good, according to the group’s analysis of a pair of studies of nearly 400,000 Chinese and Russian women.

Go figure.

The one caveat to this example is a history of breast cancer in the family.

And I know that we're all reminded, but I don't know many women who actually perform the BSE with any regularity. Did you? If so, what was your motivation? If not, does a study like this offer you some sort of relief?

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Is this study an example of when the wording is crucial (along of the lines of: statistics can be manipulated to prove a point)?

I never thought BSE was supposed to reduce breast cancer deaths, but thought the purpose was for women to become familiar with our body's natural changes throughout the month, so if any changes DO occur (cancer or not), that we can have it checked out by a doctor. I had understood that once a cancerous lump was detected by a woman, or even her doctor, that the cancer was pretty significant in size. If that's true, then I am not surprised by this study, as if BSE can only detect cancer in later stages, then there would be a higher mortality rate (again, assuming). Does that make sense?

The real screening tool, that I think does have an impact on mortality rates of breast cancer, are annual mammograms.

To answer your question---I've never really done the monthly BSE. I probably have done it once or twice in the shower (as recommended), but it always seemed like it wasn't very worthwhile.

July 22, 2008 - 2:28pm
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