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  • Breast Self-Exam

    Breast self-exam (BSE) is a method that may help women become familiar with the normal look and feel of their breasts. BSE is not recommended as a screening tool for breast cancer because it has not been shown to decrease breast cancer death.

    What's the evidence for breast self-exam?

    Breast self-exam seemed promising when it was first introduced. However, studies have shown it does not offer the early detection and survival benefits of other screening tests [42].  

    A meta-analysis combined the results of the two largest randomized controlled trials on breast self-exam. It found no difference in breast cancer survival rates between women who did routine breast self-exams and those who did not [42]. And, women who did breast self-exams had more false positive results, leading to nearly twice as many biopsies with benign (not cancer) results as women who did not do breast self-exams [42].

    Know what is normal for you

    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

    Updated 10/27/14