or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Women's Health  › Do You Do Self-Breast Exams???
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Do You Do Self-Breast Exams???

Poll Results: Do You Do Self-Breast Exams?

  • 8% (3)
    Yes~Every Month
  • 31% (11)
    Occasionally I do them.
  • 57% (20)
    No, I never do.
  • 2% (1)
    What are self-breast exams???
35 Total Votes  
post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
My Grandmother was just diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday. And it really made me think about HOW many of us do self-exams. I found my 1st breast lump when I was 19 yo~so scarey. At that time, I was diagnosed w/fibrocystic breast disease or lumpy breasts. I really try to do exams each month, but sadly, I'm not faithful with it.

I feel like I need encouragement, support and reminders (besides the shower reminder in my shower area ) to do this. Do you?


post #2 of 20
Thanks for the reminder! They say you should do the exam eight days after you start your period because that's when cancerious lumps ( but not fibrocystic ones) would be easiest to detect. If I remember even three days before that, I do the exam just to make sure I don't forget completely. I still don't remember every month...but thanks to you I will this month!

I'm so very sorry to hear about your Grandmother. I hope she can get successful treatment. Wishing you and your family strength in this difficult time,

post #3 of 20
My aunt (not biological) has breast cancer (I think they call it massive breast cancer but I'm not sure - anyway the really bad one). But even before I knew that I did my monthly breast exams, since I was around 16.

It's SO important. Please, everyone, do them every month! It takes less than 2 minutes! Just do it under the shower while you soap up.
post #4 of 20
They are soo important! I'm going to start a new thread on this because I think its so important, there was some bad news about mammographies in the news today, all the more reason to do your self exams! (Don't want to side track this thread! - Lisamarie thanks for giving us all the wonderful reminder!)
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

I haven't seen the info. on the mammo's~would love to read it. Thanks for letting us know!


post #6 of 20
An emphatic NO! I have no intention on getting breast cancer and won't put out negative vibes by looking for something that isn't there. I know this goes completely against the grain, but my belief is that if you look hard enough for something, eventually you're gonna find it! I would much rather use my energy in a positive way to create and maintain wellness in all areas of my body. So I prefer to spend my free time meditating rather than looking for dis-ease in my body...
post #7 of 20


I echo Paula....I think creating health is more important than scanning our bodies for imperfections....though this is obviously NOT the status quo answer. I also believe that if my body was sending me a message (which is what I believe disease and such is) than I would receive it w/o touching my beautiful breasts each month saying "is this cancer? is this cancer?"
BUT>>>>>to each his own. here's to health!!!!!
post #8 of 20
I agree. This is off the subject a little, but....
My sister (18) is very thin. She got her belly button peirced a while back and got an infection. Soon after she noticed that she could really palpate her lymph nodes in her groin area. Many doctors now have told her that all her blood work is fine and that it is most likely a result from the infection. But she gets online and convinces herself that she is sick. She would read about symptoms of cancer and within days be experiencing them. I told her that she can probably feel the effects that assualt on her system creates because she is so thin. If My lympg nodes swelled I would have never known! Due to my cushioned birthing body...Sorry bout the rabbit trail, but this thread really seemed to remind of her.
post #9 of 20
LOL, Bella Babe, I can totally relate to the voluptuous (nice way of putting it, huh?) post-baby body!
post #10 of 20
Perhaps it is my age, here, and the fact that I lost both parents to cancer 14 years ago and have had my own cancer scare, but I think it is so important, if not for yourself, for your family to be preventative!

Sure, I do yoga and meditate. I exercise. I eat organic & rarely eat any junk.

But I also do whatever screening is necessary to make sure my body is functioning the way it should. That means:

*monthly breast self-exams
*yearly mamogram ( I am over 40)
*yearly pap smear
*yearly check on cholesterol levels, blood pressure, etc.
*self check for unusual moles

I don't think those things "bring on" the disease.

When I was in my early 20s I had an abnormal pap smear. I had precancerous cells on my cervix which would have developed into cancer had we not found it and did the necessary treatment. My dh's 1st wife died in her late 20s of cervical cancer. She had not had a pap in 3 years.

Last year when I was pregnant, a tiny little freckle type mole grew in size. I noticed it when I put a swimsuit on. After I gave birth, I was in the bathroom and caught the mole with my fingernail. It bled. After it healed, the mole had changed color. Half dark brown, half red. I went to my dr. who said she thought it was fine but if I wanted to have it checked out, she would refer me to the dermatologist.

Thank goodness I went to the dermatologist. It was melanoma. I did find it in time. I had surgery to remove more tissue from the site (which, thankfully, was free of melanoma cells) as well as removal of the lymph node which served as a drainage site for this area. The lymph node was also free of melanoma cells. So, I am cancer free. The outcome would have been quite different if I had not been aware of my own body and what was normal and not normal.

I know quite a bit about genetics and can tell you that most of these things are genetic. Sometimes environmental factors can play a role, but usually your chromosomal makeup determines whether or not you get one of these diseases. For example, melanoma can be transfered on the x chromosome.

Please be preventative with your bodies! Know your body and what is normal for it!

And Lisa, thanks for starting this thread and I hope your grandmother's treatment is successful.
post #11 of 20
I respect everyone's opinions here, especially regarding paying attention to one's body and noticing changes. I feel in touch with my body and I believe I "know" when it is trying to warn me of a problem. However, with regard to yearly mammography, they can actually put one more at risk for cancer. Please take a look at the following info:

Screening mammography poses significant and cumulative risks of breast cancer for premenopausal women. The routine practice of taking four films of each breast annually results in approximately 1 rad (radiation absorbed dose) exposure, about 1,000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray.
The premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each 1 rad exposure increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade's screening. These risks are even greater for younger women subject to "baseline screening."

Radiation risks are some four-fold greater for the 1 to 2 percent of women who are silent carriers of the A-T (ataxia-telangiectasia) gene; by some estimates this accounts for up to 20 percent of all breast cancers diagnosed annually.
Since 1928, physicians have been warned to handle "cancerous breasts with care -- for fear of accidentally disseminating cells" and spreading the cancer. Nevertheless, mammography entails tight and often painful breast compression, particularly in premenopausal women, which could lead to distant and lethal spread of malignant cells by rupturing small blood vessels in or around small undetected breast cancers.
Missed cancers are common in premenopausal women owing to their dense breasts, and also in postmenopausal women on estrogen replacement therapy.
Mistakenly diagnosed cancers are common. For women with multiple risk factors including a strong family history and early menarche -- just those strongly urged to have annual mammograms -- the cumulative risks of false positives can reach as high as 100 percent over a decade's screening.
The widespread acceptance of screening has lead to overdiagnosis of pre-invasive cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ), sometimes treated radically by mastectomy and radiation, and even chemotherapy.
As increasing numbers of premenopausal women are responding to aggressively promoted screening, imaging centers are becoming flooded. Resultingly, patients referred for diagnostic mammography are now experiencing potentially dangerous delays, up to several months, before they can be examined.
The dangers and unreliability of screening are compounded by its growing and inflationary costs. Screening all premenopausal women would cost $2.5 billion annually, about 14 percent of estimated Medicare spending on prescription drugs.
These costs would be increased some fourfold if the highly profitable industry, enthusiastically supported by radiologists, succeeds in replacing film machines, costing about $100,000 each, with the latest high-tech digital machines recently approved by the FDA, costing about $400,000 each, for which there is no evidence of improved effectiveness.

The ineffectiveness and dangers of mammography pose an agonizing dilemma for the millions of women anxious for reassurance of early detection of breast cancer. However, the dilemma is more apparent than real.

As proven by a September 2000 publication, based on a unique large-scale screening study by University of Toronto epidemiologists, monthly breast self-examination (BSE) following brief training, coupled with annual clinical breast examination (CBE) by a trained health care professional, is at least as effective as mammography in detecting early tumors, and also safe.

National networks of BSE and CBE clinics staffed by trained nurses should be established to replace screening mammography. Apart from their minimal costs, such clinics would empower women and free them from increasing dependence on industrialized medicine and its complicit medical institutions.

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Professor Emeritus Environmental and Occupational Medicine Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
Web site: http://www.preventcancer.com

For further details and supporting documentation, see "Dangers and Unreliability of Mammography: Breast Examination is a Safe, Effective and Practical Alternative," by Samuel S. Epstein, Barbara Seaman and Rosalie Bertell, International Journal of Health Services, volume 31(3):605-615, 2001.

Source: http://www.mercola.com/2002/feb/23/mammography.htm
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

Good to hear from you and to also hear that you are cancer free!!!!!

My Grandmother, luckily, caught the breast cancer early and herself. She had lung cancer 17 years ago (never smoked a day in her life too!) and had part of her lung removed and chemo. She is determined not to have chemo. again~so on Tues. she is having a masectomy.

I am a massage therapist and my palpation skills are very, very good. In my profession, I have to palpate ("look") for trigger points, scar tissue, strains, etc. Then I treat it, through massage. This is preventative treatment, in some ways~preventing headaches, chronic pain, etc. So, I ask~how is this different from self breast exams? You aren't "looking" for disease, but doing preventative care, so you can be treated accordingly.

At 19~as mentioned above~I did find a lump. I was adopted, so I didn't have ANY medical history whatsoever. I also, had a serious type of tumor I was born with. Luckily it was removed because I could have died from it, but grew back again and again it was removed. I have to have CAT scans regularly now, to make sure it doesn't return.

I believe in self healing~through massage, natural healing, prayer, etc. But.....I also believe in preventative care~through routine paps, self breast exams, etc. I feel like I owe it to my ds to take care of myself to make sure that I will be around for a long, long time. His father died and I don't want him to be left alone, without any parents.

Each of us though, are in charge of our own health care and decisions pertaining to our bodies and the wellbeing of our family.


post #13 of 20
I know there are mixed reviews in the medical community regarding mamograms.

I had a breast reduction surgery 20 some years ago and because of the scar tissue which remains, self-exams are not as reliable as mamograms. A routine mamogram, when I turned 40, revealed a lump in my breast that could not be felt by self-exam. I chose to have a needle biopsy which was inconclusive. I could either have it removed or have it "watched" through yearly mamograms. Since it is perfectly round in shape (an indication of a benign tumor) and very, very tiny, I am having it monitored instead of having surgery.

Also, some women have "lumpy" breasts; breast tissue that is prone to developing many benign tumors. These women should think about having yearly mamograms after age 40 because it is impossible to determine what is usual from the unusual.

I think to have or not to have a mamogram should be determined by medical history and what a person feels comfortable in doing. I probably would just do self-exams and have a mamogram once every 5 years (as does my sister) if I didn't have the scar tissue.

I also am for alternative therapies and would have chosen something other than chemo had my results been different. Neither of my parents had good experiences with chemo (I believe it killed my mother by making her too weak to fight the disease) and I had started doing much research into alternative therapies.
post #14 of 20
I gave up. It all feels lumpy to me. kinda like raisin bread dough. At first i thought it was abnormal,then I thought it was my milk ducts, then i was reassured it was supposed to feel that way. How are you supposed to find a pea sized lump in that mess? Am I missing something?

Mamograms scare me. That is a whole lot of radiation. I don't even get dental x-rays.
post #15 of 20
I don't do them but every time I turn around my husband is trying to give me one! :

On a serious note, I am sorry to hear about your Grandmother Lisa.
post #16 of 20

breast exams while bf'g

My GYN told me that while breastfeeding it's a useless exercise, because you can't tell what with the tissue's surroundings changing all the time.

Used to do it regularly. Haven't in 4-plus years (which is how long I've been continuously bf'g at this point ...)
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your kind words jasnjakesmama. She had her masect. yesterday and she came out o.k. I've been sick since Sunday, so I haven't had a chance to go see her. She is complaining of her right arm really hurting though~very common after surgery. I am going to try to get a massage therapist in her area to come and do a in-hom visit to try to make her feel better.

Thanks Again~
post #18 of 20
I'm glad to hear the surgery went well. A massage therapist sounds like a great idea. That's very thoughful of you. They say body work helps speed up healing time.
Sending healing thoughts her way....
post #19 of 20
lisamarie, I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. I do self-exams every month--in fact, I've found a thickening in my right breast that I'm having checked in September. I don't use that one as frequently during breastfeeding & I'm sure it's related to that, but I'll check it just the same. I've had a mammogram & ultrasound done a few years ago--I tend to have "ridges" that can sometimes feel like lumps.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your kind words! My grandmother is doing really well, especially for her age of 88!

Sorry to hear about the lump you found. Good thing that you are having it checked. I have fibrocystic breasts, so I know what you mean.

Please let us know how your appt. goes!

Good Luck~

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Women's Health
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Women's Health  › Do You Do Self-Breast Exams???