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Breast Self-Exam Flunks Test

<P>They Don't Cut Breast Cancer Deaths, but May Increase Unnecessary Biopsies</P>

continued...

Harris doesn't dispute this. "Part of what Dr. Baines is saying is right," he says. "We need trained minds to understand. But training those fingers is darn hard. It is a very hard thing to learn. What's needed is a really excellent physical examination of the breast, whether by the woman or by her doctor. A haphazard exam isn't enough. Training people to do it in the right way is really important."

There are many products on the market designed to make BSE easier. Baines thinks they are, at best, a waste of time and money.

"You have no idea of the number of entrepreneurs who have made things like revolting collapsed balloons full of wet jelly, and women are supposed to lie on their backs like fish and palpate their breasts with them," she says. "These ways to enhance BSE -- do I give them credence? No. The closer your fingers are to your breast, the better."

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