Breast Self-Exams Are Not Recommended

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A Public Service Announcement About Breast Self-Examination from SexEdPlus(.com)

1: Did you know that breast exams aren’t recommended any more?

2: Wait, what? My doctor just reminded me to do a monthly check!

1: Obviously a few people disagree, or your doctor might not have heard, but the CDC, the WHO, the National Cancer Institute, none of them recommend the exams any more.

2: Why?

1: Well, there’s never really been any evidence supporting them. There’s some cynical ideas about how a few groups have benefited from promoting them all this time. And there are finally some big studies just showing they don’t improve mortality rates.

2: But it couldn’t hurt to do them, right?

1: Actually, they think the exams could lead to needless biopsies and surgeries that do more harm than good. Or just make people needlessly anxious.

2: What should I do then?

1: Well, they are pretty sure that women between the ages of 50 and 74 should get a mammogram every two years. And maybe if you’re younger.

2: Maybe?

1: The evidence just isn’t really clear. Everyone says you should see a doctor if you notice something weird.

2: That makes sense, I guess.

1: Some groups are recommending ‘breast awareness’ but we don’t actually know what good that does.

2: I guess I have some cynical thoughts on why so much public attention has been focused on breast cancer. Compared to cervical cancer or heart disease. I mean, if you actually look at the numbers, and which groups are affected…

1: Well, one thing you can do is support funding for research. The effect isn’t immediate, but we’ll keep correcting these misconceptions and developing techniques that do work.