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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Women confused about breast checking

16th July 2008

The charity Breast Cancer Breakthrough says that many women remain confused about how best to check their breasts for the early signs of cancer.


Experts in the UK say that the best way for a woman to check her breasts was to get to know what is “normal” for them as an individual as opposed to conducting a strict examination routine.

In recent years, a view in the UK has emerged that breast awareness is better than a rigorous monthly self-examination.

There is no evidence that the rigorous examination reduces breast cancer and it is feared it can lead to unnecessary biopsies but Breast Cancer Breakthrough says some UK women still rely on US-based websites recommending self-examination.

Dr Sara Cant from Breakthrough Breast Cancer said: “There is a lot of information out there from the US, and this is easily obtained on the internet - and there are UK sites where this advice is given, usually with the best of intentions.

“On top of this, some women who started examining their breasts this way before the advice changed in the 1990s may be unaware that new advice has been issued.”

The charity calls the UK recommended approach TLC – “touch, look and check.”

“This approach, coupled with regularly attending breast screening when invited, and modern treatments, has significantly reduced breast cancer mortality,” said Dr Cant.

The Department of Health said its policy on breast awareness encourages women to check their breasts for what is normal for them but does not recommend routine self examination to a set technique.


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