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Importance of Breast Self Exams: March 13, 2011

Out of every 8 women, one will develop breast cancer and 70% of those diagnosed will have no risk factors. Surgeon, Dr. Eric Goldsmith says that's why breast self exams are extremely important. Not just for detection, but for early treatment. "Today, we have to all accept responsibility and sometimes, you know, things slip under the rug, who knows, but we are the guardian of our bodies and we really need to protect ourselves."

He adds that every woman should make sure they know the right way to perform a self-examination. As Dr. Goldsmith demonstrates, the breast tissue extends all the way to the clavical area and along the armpit. He says if you still aren't sure, ask. "If you have not had that discussion, you need to initiate the discussion with your healthcare provider and say, 'I want to do a breast self exam. Show me the right way and show me what to do."

Men should be performing their own self-examinations, too. "Absolutely! Male breast cancer is extremely unusual and rare no question about that. 99% of breast cancer involves women, but it's not unheard of for men and so self examination is always necessary."

And take your time through the process. Most early stages of breast cancer are discovered during a self-exam. "You examining yourself every month is no question: you are much better acquainted and we're going to feel a little lumps and bumps in the breast here and there, and that's rally normal. The real thing is when you become familiar with your anatomy and there's the change. Hmm, I've never felt that before. That's what we are looking for."

Currently, there are 250,000 breast cancer patients are under the age of 40.