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Breast Cancer Awareness

Updated on October 2, 2016
Pamela99 profile image

After 22 years as an RN, I now write about medical issues and new medical advances. Diet, exercise, treatment, and lifestyle are important.

Longest Study Proves Mammograms Saves Lives

Women should have mammograms on their breasts to diagnose cancer. There is a new study, the longest one completed to date, that proves mammograms reduce breast cancer death by 30%. This three year long study was completed in Sweden. The study results proved that 1 breast cancer death can be prevented for every 414-519 women as compared to the previous 1000-1500 women in previous studies just be getting a regular routine mammogram.

While there is some over diagnosis which may lead to an invasive procedure, like a biopsy, it would seem that proving a lump is not cancerous is worth the risk. Robert Smith, the director of the American Cancer Institute considers screening for breast cancer to be a "very good investment." This study totally disproves the previous recommendation in the following paragraph.

Example of Self Exams

Look for dimpling or changes.
Look for dimpling or changes.
Exam lying down/
Exam lying down/
Standing exam.  Shower is good place as your skin is wet making exam very easy.
Standing exam. Shower is good place as your skin is wet making exam very easy.

What are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer

The panel last year issued the changes for the frequency of mammograms and self examination is the United States Preventive Services Task Force. The panel changed the time for the first mammogram from 40 years of age to 50.

Also, they advised doctors not to teach women to examine their own breasts, saying the self-checks led to more imaging procedures and biopsies but did not reduce cancer deaths. Furthermore, the task force stated the new guidelines would “strike a better balance between the benefits of early cancer detection and the unnecessary anxiety and extra costs associated with false positives which sometimes result from the test” I wonder if they considered the anxiety of finding out you have untreatable advanced cancer because you didn't do exams and have mammograms?

Breast Exam


Importance of Self Breast Exam

The United States task force includes a panel of experts and is funded and appointed by the government. Some of the members have been in place since the last administration. They did not include a oncologist or get input from the American Cancer Society before making their latest recommendation. This is the same organization that six months ago said the number of mammograms was declining and woman need to get them done. They are an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention that systematically review the evidence of effectiveness and develop recommendations for clinical preventive services.

Prevent Breast Cancer

These new set of guidelines make no sense at all. The United States has a lower death rate than countries with socialized medicine. Mammograms miss about 10% of cancers, so the self exam is an important tool. Monthly breast exams find about 20% of breast cancers . You might find a lump or nodule which you immediately report to your doctor.

Mammograms and self breast exams are both important tools in prevention. I have two friends that were diagnosed with breast cancer based on finding a lump during a self breast exam. One had a very aggressive malignancy and had a double mastectomy followed by radiation and chemotherapy, which was four years ago. Both of these women are about 4 years out from their mastectomies with no sign of cancer. What if they hadn’t done that exam?

If you have a family member with breast cancer, get the BRAC test, which is a genetic DNA test that might save your live. If you test positive, your chance of getting breast cancer is significantly higher.

Exams Easy and Free

Breast exams are easy, painless and free. Women know the drill. Use the finger pads of your three middle fingers to palpate the breast. Raise your arm and make sure to check up under your armpits as there is breast tissue in that area. Then do the other breast. This can be done lying in bed or in the shower. It takes only a few minutes of time. You are looking for changes.

Women keep doing the exams! It is important to do an exam monthly. It helps to pick a date, like the first of the month, which will help you remember.

Prevent Breast Cancer

So what motive does this panel have for telling women to stop these exams and to not get mammograms. They obviously are important prevention tools.

Both of these prevention tools are especially important if anyone in your family has had breast cancer, because you are at a higher risk. If a woman does monthly exams she will notice a changes. I can only assume these new recommendations are to not spend money by not utilizing your health insurance.

© 2009 Pamela Oglesby


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    imranhaider, Thank you very much for your comment.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    nice hub

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Thanks for your comment Dohn.

  • dohn121 profile image


    9 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

    What a bunch of baloney! (For lack of a better word!) Last I checked, we live in a Republic and not Socialist society! How can preventive measure be bad? I like to find out how one of those panelist feel when THEY get breast cancer.

    Thank you for pointing this out, Pamela. Great hub.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    I agree. I think this is a clear message of where we are headed. Less old people collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits means less money the government pays out. It doesn't matter that I like many others have worked and contributed since age 16.

  • breakfastpop profile image


    9 years ago

    Dear Pamela,

    This is only the tip of the iceberg. Get ready for advising men to stop taking PSA tests, forget about routine colonoscopy... Our government at its worst...

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    9 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Morning Tom, i agree. There seems to me no reasonable explanation for this reverse of opinion.

  • Tom Whitworth profile image

    Tom Whitworth 

    9 years ago from Moundsville, WV


    This is what happens when we let the big government meddle in our private affairs. They really don't have our best interests at heart. They are faceless beaurocrats. I also think they are brainless.


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