Why are breast self-exams so important?

Stock image/Anna Shvets (Pexels)

As important as mammograms are in detecting breast cancer, self-exams are just as vital for early detection.

Research from Johns Hopkins University states that 40% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed by women who feel a lump, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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Here are three important questions to address when it comes to breast self-exams.

How often should a breast self-exam be conducted?

The National Breast Cancer Foundation recommends doing so once a month.

What are the best ways to conduct a breast self-exam?

There are three ways that are best, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

  • In the shower.
  • In front of a mirror standing up.
  • Lying down.

Through all three of these ways, it’s encouraged to apply firm pressure with the fingers to the breast and armpit areas to feel if there are any lumps or knots, and to see if there are any changes in contour.

What should I do if a lump is detected?

A couple of things.

The first is to get in touch with a doctor and schedule an appointment. The second is not to panic.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation says that eight out of 10 lumps discovered are not cancerous, so that can be reassuring when scheduling a check-up with your doctor.

This article was initially published in 2020. It has since been updated.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.