Reasons why the results may not
be helpful include:
Changes in your breasts or breast tenderness
that occur during your menstrual cycle.
Examining your breasts at
different times in your menstrual cycle. This may make it difficult to compare
results of one examination with those of another.
fibrocystic lumps. These may make a breast self-examination difficult because
lumps occur throughout the breast. The fibrocystic lumps can also become tender
before your menstrual cycle.
What To Think About
Medical experts disagree about the need for
regular breast self-examinations. Some doctors still encourage regular BSE. But it is unknown if breast
self-examinations are helpful in finding breast cancer.1
apparently normal breast self-examination does not rule out breast cancer.
Breast self-examinations should not replace regular
clinical breast examinations by a doctor
and mammograms. For more information, see the
Clinical Breast Examination and
If you have a breast lump that you are
concerned about, see your doctor to determine the cause. Remember,
most breast lumps are not caused by cancer. A breast biopsy may be needed to
fully evaluate a breast lump. For more information, see the topic
A pad, the breast self-examination (BSE) pad,
has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as an
aid in breast self-examination. The sensor pad is made of two layers of plastic
with a small amount of liquid silicone inside. It is supposed to make breast
lumps easier to detect by reducing the amount of rubbing (friction) between the
fingers and the breast skin. The sensor pad is available without a prescription
at many pharmacies.
Other Places To Get Help
American Cancer Society (ACS)
The American Cancer Society (ACS) conducts educational
programs and offers many services to people with cancer and to their families.
Staff at the toll-free numbers have information about services and activities
in local areas and can provide referrals to local ACS divisions.
7 East Lancaster Avenue, 3rd Floor
Breastcancer.org is a Web site dedicated to helping women
understand breast cancer and make good decisions about their treatment. This
site provides information from medical professionals on all aspects of
breast cancer, from screening and surgery to sex and intimacy. The site also offers links
to chat rooms, discussion boards, and "Ask the Expert" online conferences.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
6116 Executive Boulevard
https://cissecure.nci.nih.gov/livehelp/welcome.asp# for live help
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is a U.S. government
agency that provides up-to-date information about the prevention, detection,
and treatment of cancer. NCI also offers supportive care to people who have cancer
and to their families. NCI information is also available to doctors, nurses,
and other health professionals. NCI provides the latest information about
clinical trials. The Cancer Information Service, a service of NCI, has trained
staff members available to answer questions and send free publications.
Spanish-speaking staff members are also available.