Contrary to the widespread public assumption that routine breast self-examination is an important tool for detecting early stage breast cancer, a review of population-based studies indicates that engaging in this practice does not improve breast cancer mortality in women (http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab003373.html).
Furthermore, the findings reveal that breast self-examination may lead to unnecessary biopsies. “As regular breast self-examination is not beneficial but harmful, it cannot be recommended as a routine practice for women,” said coauthor Jan Peter Kösters, MD, of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Hampton T. Oncologists Advise Breast Awareness Over Routine Breast Self-examination. JAMA. 2008;300(15):1748–1749. doi:10.1001/jama.300.15.1748