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New Study Says Breast Self-Exams Don't Reduce Breast Cancer Deaths

By July 15, 2008

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I am a 14-year survivor of ovarian cancer, diagnosed when I was in my early thirties. I'm fine now, but it does put me at greater risk for breast cancer. So wouldn't you think I'd be conscientious about doing the recommended monthly breast self-exam (BSE) that we've all been taught how to do?

I'm not. And the few times I do the exam each year, I feel guilty that I'm not more diligent.

Now comes news that maybe the breast self-exam isn't as effective as previously thought. A new study, recently released, suggests that there's no evidence that BSEs reduce breast cancer deaths. CancerFacts has more details on this study.

Despite what you may think, the news actually encourages me to do my BSEs with greater regularity. Why? Because when caught early, breast cancer is more easily treated than in its later stages. So even though the study says there's no evidence showing BSEs reduce cancer deaths, the article does indicate that the majority of women detect their own breast masses. That statement is a much-needed kick in the pants reminding me we know our bodies best. And I'm risking my life by not being my own best (breast) advocate.

Having gone through surgery and chemotherapy once, if I can do something to avoid going through it again, I'm stupid not to follow through.

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July 23, 2008 at 7:28 pm
(1) Flo says:

Every case of Breast Cancer in my family has been caught by the monthly Self exam. The few times that I’ve felt something “odd” my Dr’s have taken it seriously. Knock wood, they have all been negative. My 71 year old mother found a lump a almost a year ago, between mamograms, the biopsy came back benign, but it was still scarey. I will continue with my monthly exams and my annual mamos because at 51 I still have a lot to look forward to, and I’m taking no chances.

October 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm
(2) Raquel says:

With the new breast cancer info just out, it appears that early detection does not reduce cancer deaths nearly as much as we once thought. Sigh.

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