Breast Self Examination - beneficial or not

For several years, breast self examination and the clinical examination by a medical professional was promoted as a means for the early detection of the breast cancer. The campaign resulted in increased awareness among the women about the breast cancer and the importance of regular breast examination. But the data collected from two large trails involving more than 300,000 woman and reviewed at the Cochrane library do not suggest any beneficial effect due to regular breast self examination as there was no statistically significant difference in the death rates due to breast cancer in the two groups. On the other hand regular breast examination resulted in increased detection of benign lesions of the breast, which led to increased biopsies almost twice in the self- examination group compared to that of the control group.

This naturally leads us to the question. ‘Do we now recommend breast self-examination?’ As the evidence from two major studies point out there isn’t any obvious or rather putting it in scientific term ‘statistically significant’ benefit in doing breast self examination. But is there any harm in doing breast self examination? For the start it results in increased detection of benign lesions which generally then causes unwanted anxiety and lead to further evaluation of the lesion. Any part of the body, including the breasts needs regular attention and care. Women should be aware of the changes in their breasts and should be able to seek medical care if there are any detectable changes. Regardless of the results in the study its better to be cautious and do a regular breast self examination.

Date: 
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
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