If you often forget to perform your monthly self breast exams, you can rest easier and maybe even take the item off your to do list. An analysis by Cochrane Collaboration of two large studies on self breast exams (SBE) found that monthly self exams did not reduce breast cancer deaths. Even worse, these self exams lead to increased numbers of biopsies of benign lumps.
Like many women, this news perplexes me. But then again many women are perplexed by SBE to begin with since many lumps and bumps are perfectly normal. Many women are not quite sure how to perform a self exam and what exactly they are feeling for. This might be the reason why SBE aren't helping save lives. While I have friends who have survived breast cancer and these women found the tumors during their monthly breast exams, I still routinely forget to do mine. Due to the experience of my friends, I will continue to periodically do my SBE. A growing number of public health officials believe that unless a woman is highly motivated to do the self exams, due to a genetic risk for breast cancer, that the SBE are not necessary, especially for women in their 20s and 30s.
What do you think of this news? Are you relieved or confused? Tell me in the comment section below.