Can You Really Rely on Your Breast Self-Exam?

Susan G. Komenbreast self exam is no longer recommending breast self-exams. According to their website, the self-exam doesn’t offer the early detection and survival benefits of other screening tests. So, do you really need to continue doing a monthly self-exam?

The Benefits of Breast Self-Exams

While Susan G. Komen may no longer recommend breast self-exams, many other organizations still do. And why not? There’s certainly no harm in understanding what is normal when it comes to your breasts. BreastCancer.org recommends that women still routinely check their breasts, stating that the more you can learn about them the easier it will become for you to tell if there’s something unusual about them.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, your breasts will change as you go through various stages of your life. This is another reason they believe it’s important for “breast self-awareness.” Recognizing that some organizations are no longer recommending breast self-exams, Johns Hopkins Medicine says it’s not about following a certain method or schedule. It’s just about knowing what’s normal for you and what is not. This way, if there’s even a minor change, you can report it to your doctor right away.

Changes to Look For

We all know that the big thing to look and feel for when it comes to breast self-exams is a lump. However, Johns Hopkins Medicine says there’s more to it than just lumps. You should also check for:

  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk), especially if there is blood.
  • Change in shape or size
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the armpits
  • Skin irritation
  • Nipple pain or redness

The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 40-44 start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms. Many of our 9Health Fairs will be offering free breast screenings provided by our medical professionals.

And if you do continue to make a breast self-exam a part of your monthly routine, let 9Health Fair help remind you! We post a reminder on the 9th of each month on Facebook.