Breast Self Exam
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Why do the guidelines now say donï¿½t do breast self-exam? My sister had breast cancer and found it by doing self-exam and best of all it doesnï¿½t cost a thing! Self exams can save womenï¿½s lives- right? "Stress" is a reason not to?
Carolyn Vachani RN, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink's Nurse Educator, responds:
Unfortunately, the self-exam issue has been misrepresented in the media. The USPTF guidelines do not say to not perform breast self-exam, they actually say that practitioners should not teach BSE (breast self exam). ï¿½ The reason they say this is that studies found that women who were taught BSE were no better at finding abnormalities than those who werenï¿½t taught. In addition, a several studies found no benefit in survival for the group receiving instruction versus the un-taught group. Studies have also found that women who were taught BSE had more false positives (required a biopsy that did not find any cancer).
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series, Womenï¿½s Health in the News. View the entire transcript here.