Empirical studies on breast self-exam?

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Question from nea: Have there been any empirical studies on breast self-examination? What is the general consensus?
Answers - Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. Although studies have been published that show that breast self-exam does not benefit patients in the early diagnosis of breast cancer, for women under the age of 40 and for women with very dense breasts, breast self-exam may be the woman's only tool to evaluate herself on a regular basis to increase what I like to call breast awareness. Because 20% of all breast cancers are not found mammographically, breast awareness is something that as a surgeon I believe still has more benefit than harm. Although clinical trials cannot show a specific statistically significant improvement in the diagnosis of breast cancer, it is but one of the tools that a woman has to use in an attempt to diagnose breast cancers as early as possible. Patients should not feel as though not doing a regular exam is right or wrong. I oftentimes feel that educating women about understanding the normal architecture of their breasts is just an important aspect of knowing their own body.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Updates From the 2010 ASCO Annual Meeting featured Andrew Seidman, M.D. and Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, and more.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in June 2010.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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