It is recommended that all women over the age of 20 should regularly perform a breast self examination to help detect a breast cancer early on. It is well established that early detection is the key to reversing or curing any kind of cancer and the same is true for breast cancer.

Also the soft breast tissue, which is devoid of any bones or other hard matter, provides a unique opportunity for women to palpate their own selves, to look at and feel both breast for any lumps, swelling or to find any abnormalities.

Breast Self ExaminationThere are benefits of a breast self examination that this can help women to detect any abnormality in their breasts.

When a woman is familiar with her own breasts and regularly performs breast self exams, she is able to tell if there is anything untoward, such as a lump, swelling or other irregularity.

The self exam is recommended to be performed at the same time of a menstrual cycle each month (the recommended time being just after the end of the monthly period) so that the hormonal levels of the body are the same each time since at this time the breasts are least likely to be swollen or tender.

Regular breast self examination is recommended by many experts as being the key to maintaining good breast health and so that any cysts, benign tumors and so on can be detected early on.

While all breasts are different with regard to shape, size, symmetry, whether they feel smooth, or bumpy; the important thing is to be able to detect any change or anything unusual that could alert the woman that something is wrong. Breast self exam is recommended for women who are deemed to be at high risk of breast cancer.

However many experts also feel that there are certain limitations to regular breast self examination – there is the charge that while the self exams may help women detect any lumps or growths, this doesn’t actually help reduce incidences of breast cancer or the numbers of women that die from breast cancer.

A large scale Chinese study that had over 260,000 female factory workers as the subjects, found that those who were taught how to perform a breast self exam, were able to detect many more breast lumps than the women who were not taught the procedure. However the same number of women died from breast cancer in each group so the self exam group cannot be said to have really benefited.

In fact there is the view that routine breast self examination is actually harmful – they tend to bring to light cysts, benign tumors and other growths so that an increased number of biopsies, surgeries and so on are performed.

While this is good for generation of revenues for the medical industry, it can cause unnecessary anxiety and worry for women, who have to undergo unnecessary invasive medical procedures. So since breast self exams are proven not to save lives, they are generally recommended to be performed regularly only by those women who are at high risk of breast cancer.