Breast Self-Exam

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Breast self-exam facts

  • A breast self-exam is a woman's examination of her breasts for any changes or abnormalities.
  • Although some women prefer to do breast self-exams, their value in detecting early cancers and in saving lives from breast cancer is controversial. For this reason, many medical organizations do not specifically recommend that women do breast self-exams.
  • Mammography is the best way to detect early breast cancers.
  • Breast self-exam is an option for women who choose to perform this exam.
  • Breast self-exam involves looking for both changes in appearance and changes in feel of the breasts.
  • Any changes noticed on breast self-exam should be discussed with a doctor. Most breast lumps are benign (are not cancerous).

What is a breast self-exam?

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A breast self-exam is a woman's examination of her own breasts. Breast self-exams were formerly encouraged to help women detect breast cancer, but experts and medical organizations do not agree about whether this is necessary or helps save lives. Many women feel comfortable doing breast self-exams as a way to monitor their own health.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/16/2013

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