Thursday, October 16, 2008

Are monthly self breast exams helpful?

No matter how you decide to take charge of your breast, health, it's always good to keep up with the newest findings. The Cochrane studies are the ones the doctors look at.

I personally am into the "first, do no harm." I stay away from plastics, radiation (including mammograms, actually). You can do your own research and or review items on this blog about survival rates of people who have mammograms regularly versus those who do not. I also think it's important to factor in the stress and things of having these procedures done plus the inevitable and common false negatives (my mom just had one--and they took 5 more mammos just to confirm that they screwed up...) that ratchet up the anxiety factors.

This article also puts monthly self exams in another perspective.



breast exam, breast awarenessIs there a right way to check your breasts for early signs of cancer? Many women remain confused as experts now say there is no evidence that rigorous monthly "self-examination" -- widely recommended in the United States -- reduces breast cancer deaths. Plus, it can lead to unnecessary biopsies.

Two large studies looking at a total of more than 388,000 women found that death rates from breast cancer were the same among women who rigorously self-examined as those who did not, while there were almost twice the number of biopsy operations in the self-examination group.

According to some experts, the best way for a woman to check her breasts is not to follow a strict examination routine, but to get to know what is normal, and feel them regularly for signs of any changes.