Study: Breast Self-Exams Don't Improve Cancer Survival

They increase biopsies of benign lumps
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2008 11:55 AM CDT
"Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts discovered a lump that turned out to be breast cancer during a self-examination.    (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Breast self-examinations, long recommended to women to detect early signs of breast cancer, serve no purpose, according to a review of the latest research. WebMD reports that 10-year studies of 388,500 women in Russia and China showed no improvement in survival rates from the self-exams, but revealed an added risk of unnecessary biopsies.

Says one researcher and doctor: "You know what? We've been relying on things that don't work that well, and we really have to start demanding something that works better." So what can women do? The review encourages them to still note any changes in their breasts, and to get medical attention quickly.