Breast Exam Advice Horn Lake MS
Breast Exam Advice
Breast Exam Dilemma
Q Are breast self-exams useful or not? I keep hearing conflicting advice.
A While regular breast self-exams (BSEs) have long been considered a crucial way to detect breast cancers, they haven’t gotten very good marks when scrutinized by researchers. Last year, in the wake of studies showing that women who did BSEs every month were no less likely to die from breast cancer than women who didn’t, the American Cancer Society changed its position: It now considers self-exams an optional, rather than necessary, element of early detection. (Breast exams by a doctor every three years beginning at age 20 and regular mammograms starting at 40 are still advised.) Many alternative practitioners recommend thermography, too.
That doesn’t mean you should leave all the responsibility for checking your breasts to your doctor. Most experts still counsel women to make a regular effort to monitor their breasts themselves, says Mairi Breen Rothman, a certified nurse-midwife in Washington, D.C. If you feel comfortable doing BSEs, by all means continue. Otherwise, get familiar with the way your breasts feel at different times of the month. If you notice anything unusual, tell your health care provider right away.
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