A new study says breast self-exams may be doing you more harm than good.
Great--those of us who have been religiously examining our breasts seem to be worse off. Time Magazine recently reported a new study that questioned the usefulness of breast self-exams. Not only did researchers find just a small difference of success in women who performed the self-tests versus those who didn't, the authors claim the exams may "put women at risk for unneeded treatment." Those that did the self-exams underwent nearly twice as many biopsies (with benign results), resulting in increased scarring, breast deformities and emotional wounds. Many women who were received biopsies still struggled with feelings of anxiety and emotional distress five months post biopsy.
On the other hand, many patients have found their own lumps, either from performing self-exams or feeling physical changes. For those between the ages of 20-40--for whom an annual mammogram is not yet recommended--what do we do?
Unfortunately, the answer is decidedly undecided. Debbie Saslow, director of breast and gynecological cancer for the American Cancer Society suggests "women should go ahead and perform them as long as they realize the limitations." Also, for "women who don't want to do breast self-exams, don't feel guilty about it."
Will you continue to examine yourself? Comment below.