Have You Performed This Month’s Breast- Self Exam?
A Breast-Self Exam is an at-home screening technique conducted using the hands and eyes that is practiced with the purpose of detecting breast lumps and other appearance/texture related breast abnormalities. A monthly breast-self examination is a lifesaving practice recommended for women to add to their healthcare routine. The American Cancer Society recommends all women aged 20 and older to begin practicing monthly breast-self examinations to ensure that they become familiarized with how their breasts normally look and feel.
Any changes to the look or feel of a woman’s breast tissue that are discovered during her monthly breast-self exam must be discussed with her physician. It is important to note that if you do discover changes to your breast tissue, it is not a cause for panic. There are many benign breast conditions that can cause changes in breast tissue. It is also crucial to note that a breast-self exam is not a substitute for routine mammography screenings due to the fact that 3D mammography is the only tool that can detect breast cancer at its earliest, most curable stage-before a lump can be felt. In addition, Breast-Self examinations should never replace a yearly clinical breast exam performed by a healthcare provider. Women should practice a monthly breast-self examination as a screening tool that is supplemental to clinical screening exams.
The following are the top 3 evidence based reasons that all women should add breast- self examination to their monthly healthcare routine, if they have not done so already.
Reason # 1: Research has indicated that 40% of breast cancers are detected after a woman discovers a new lump during a self breast exam.
Reason #2: The size of nodules found during a self breast exam are 50% smaller than those found during a yearly clinical breast exam.
Reason # 3: Being familiar with the normal appearance and texture of her breast tissue allows a woman to be prompt to notice any changes that may occur between monthly exams.