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September 11, 1987

Breast Self-examination

JAMA. 1987;258(10):1333. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400100066020

To the Editor.—  When I read the New York Times report on April 27, 1987, about the article on breast self-examination (BSE) printed in THE JOURNAL of April 24, 1987,1 I was incensed. Here was I, a mastectomy patient in 1939, having discovered the tumor myself, surviving healthily at age 84 years. Since 1939,I have worked actively with the American Cancer Society as a volunteer in their Reach to Recovery program, a facilitator in a mastectomy support group, and teacher of BSE in many organizations. Now, the Times was reporting to its readers that there was no evidence that BSE was of any value—no statistics yet. Therefore, I procured a copy of the original article in JAMA to see if this was an accurate report. Alas, it was!As a layman, I have no reason to doubt your statistics. We women are dealing, however, with human beings, not statistics.