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Breast Self-Exams Are Still Important

May 20, 2003

This morning I read with surprise and alarm "Mammograms Endorsed as Top Tool in Detecting Breast Cancer" (May 16), reporting that the American Cancer Society now recommends that women do not need to do breast self-exams because a mammogram is the best diagnostic tool for detecting breast cancer.

My own case was only one out of close to 200,000 diagnosed in 1998. I detected a lump three months after my mammogram was reported to be normal. Though breast self-exams may not improve survival rates overall, I am an example of one woman who has survived perhaps because I discovered the lump and got treatment early.

Women should be encouraged to do breast self-examination, not as the primary means of diagnosis but as an auxiliary check.

Carolyn Ash

Altadena

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