What? No Breast Exams?

This piece of news could be puzzling for some women, and a relief for others.

Based from a review by the Cochrane Collaboration, there's no evidence that self-exams actually reduce breast cancer deaths. But what about those monthly self-breast exams that they taught us years ago to check for lumps and nodes on our breasts?

Their official statement is this:

“At present, screening by breast self-examination … cannot be recommended.”

Apparently, that monthly self-breast exams that I know some of my friends religiously do could do more harm than good. In fact, some of the lumps and bumps reported by women who underwent the self-tests are mostly benign.

So should you check your 'girls' by yourself for lumps on a monthly basis or not?

Here’s the gist:

• If you have a history of breast cancer in the family, an annual mammogram is recommended, from age 20 and above.

• If you're in your 20's and 30's, skip the monthly self-tests.

• If you're in your 40's checking regularly for lumps and changes on your breasts is a good idea.

• If you're 50, it is a must to have an annual mammogram - this could just be your life saver.

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