Breast self-exam (BSE) is a step-by-step approach that a woman can use to look at and feel her breasts. However, BSE is not recommended as a screening tool for breast cancer.
Although it seemed promising when it was first introduced, studies have shown BSE does not offer the early detection and survival benefits of other screening tests . A meta-analysis combined the results of the two largest randomized controlled trials on BSE. It found no difference in breast cancer survival between women who did routine BSE and those who did not . And, women who did BSE had more false positive results, leading to nearly twice as many biopsies with benign (not cancer) results as women who did not do BSE .
Although breast self-exam is not recommended for breast cancer screening, it is important to become familiar with the way your breasts normally look and feel. Knowing what is normal for you may help you see or feel changes in your breasts.
Learn more about the warning signs of breast cancer.
Clinical Breast Exam
Breast Cancer Screening Recommendationsfor Women at Average Risk
Facts for Life: What is Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer 101
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