Don’t look now, but according to a recent study, breast self-exams do not increase a woman’s breast cancer survival rate.
The study takes into account a ten-year research conducted on more than 300,000 women aged 30-66 years old from Russia and China. The women were divided into two groups; in one, the women were taught how to do breast self-examinations properly and were periodically reminded to do the test. On the other hand, women from the other group went about their daily routine without training or reminders.
From the total population tested, almost 600 died of breast cancer; and half came from the group which did breast self-exams. It was also found that the women who did the exams were twice as likely to have a biopsy done, results of which were frequently negative.
In light of these recent findings, Dr. Debbie Saslow, PhD, explains that "We don't want to recommend against (self breast examinations) but there's no evidence to recommend for it.". However, the director of breast and gynecologic cancer of the American Cancer Society is quick to clarify that "… if any woman wants to do breast self-exam, then her doctor should give her assistance and make sure that her technique is what it should be, and also let her know what the limitations are so that she's not expecting that this is going to have a big impact on her if she gets breast cancer. Breast self-exam is an option.” Saslow says.
Vigilance remains a woman’s strongest weapon against breast cancer. Breast cancer is curable when found at an early stage, so it’s best to have regular check-ups.