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BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Breast Self-Examination (BSE) There is greater consensus in the field that a breast self-examination (BSE) should be relegated to an important yet secondary role in the detection of breast cancer. The importance of BSE practice stems from its ability to find “interval” breast cancers among women undergoing regular mammographic screening. Tumour growth can escalate at an increasingly rapid pace between screenings. Routine breast self-examination is commonly recommended by familial cancer clinics for women at hereditary risk. The disagreement about the effectiveness of BSE does not mean that you should not educate yourself about this practice. Proper examination techniques are essential to performing a correct BSE. Proper education allows women to understand what feels “normal” in order to recognize when something feels different. Often, a clinical BSE by a healthcare professional is the best method for educating woman in developing a proper baseline by which to examine themselves. because many leading health organization no longer promote BSE, it is reasonable to assume that fewer women are being taught it and thus conducting it less routinely. Furthermore, over-reporting can sometimes decrease the perceived benefits of performing BSE. Breast awareness through self-examination is encouraged for women in their twenties, and strongly recommended for those with a family history of breast cancer. Anyone diagnosed with a genetic predisposition is encouraged to maintain a low threshold for reporting concerns to their general practitioner. All women should be “breast aware” and report any changes or discomfort in the breasts to their physician or healthcare provider. Rapid diagnosis can improve survival rates and lessen the intensiveness of the physical and emotional stress associated with a patient’s level of treatment. Most importantly, it saves lives.