By Lori Bredemeyer, Student Reporter
A recent report from Shanghai, China, suggests women are wasting their time doing self-breast examinations.
I say that’s absurd.
The study followed 266,064 women-half did monthly self-exams and half did not-over 10 years. It found there was not a statistically significant difference in deaths between the two groups. Another study is being done in Russia, and because of these findings some doctors are beginning to discourage self-exams.
This report came on Oct. 2, the second day of breast cancer awareness month-a month when women should be encouraged to perform self-breast exams.
It is likely that every person in the United States will be affected by breast cancer in some way. Your mother, your best friend, your coworker or you will have it. All women have at least a 13 percent chance of getting breast cancer.
Statistics from the American Cancer Society also show that a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 3 minutes, and every 13 minutes a woman dies from it. But if it’s detected early, there is a 97 percent survival rate after 5 years. So, if early detection is so important, why not do self-exams?
It’s important to start healthy habits early in life, and doctors who recommend doing self-exams say to begin them at age 20. It is so important to be in tune with your body and to know when something isn’t right with it. The only way to do this is to learn from your doctor the proper way to do a self-exam.
Why should doctors begin to discourage a practice that is certainly not causing any harm? It only takes a couple of minutes every month. How can that be wasting a woman’s time when it could be saving her life?
Prevention is so important; we wear sunscreen, we put on our seatbelts, we drink milk, but if some doctors begin to discourage self-exams because of the new studies. But they shouldn’t. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women between the ages of 15 and 54.
Of course, it does take a combination of mammograms, exams by a physician and self-exams to detect cancer, but because the risk of getting breast cancer and dying from it is so high, women should continue to do self-exams.
Regardless of what new studies say, I’m sticking with the old advice, because it’s always better to be safe than sorry.