While no single test can detect all breast cancers early, Breastcancer. Over the years, there has been some debate over just how valuable breast self-examination is in detecting breast cancer early and increasing the likelihood of survival. For example, a study of nearly , women in Russia and China reported that breast self-examination does not have a meaningful impact on breast cancer survival rates and may even cause harm by prompting unnecessary biopsies removal and examination of suspicious tissue. Because of the ongoing uncertainty raised by this and other studies, the American Cancer Society no longer recommends breast self-exam as a screening tool for women with an average risk of breast cancer. Each of these screening tools works in a different way and has strengths and weaknesses.
Breast Self-Exam: How to Check for Lumps and Other Breast Changes
The question whether the aggregated published research suggests that breast self examination is beneficial was explored in a meta-analysis of 12 studies including a total of patients with breast cancer that related the practice of breast self examination to regional lymph node state or tumour diameter. Logistic regression analysis showed this difference to be significant odds ratio 0. Analysis of eight studies which used the diameter of the tumour to indicate the extent of disease tended to confirm the findings on lymph node state, in particular the benefit of premorbid breast self examination. The combined odds ratio for that analysis was 0. These findings appear to be good evidence of the benefit of encouraging women to practise self examination of the breasts regularly. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.
Want to keep this info in a convenient place or give it to a loved one? Click below to download a one-page printer-friendly flier of this page. It is often used as an early detection method for breast cancer.
Early detection can increase the chance of surviving breast cancer after treatment. Knowing how to spot the signs and detect changes can play an important role in prevention. Practicing monthly breast self-examination can help detect abnormalities or changes that may indicate cancer.