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Detecting breast changes through ‘self-awareness’

Many OB-GYN specialists now recommend a different way for recognizing changes in your breasts. Being able to spot changes in your breasts is key to detecting breast cancer early.

The new recommendation is an idea called ““breast self-awareness.” Several medical organizations, including the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, no longer encourage monthly breast self-exams for women at average risk of breast cancer. Instead, they teach this new, more mindful method for self-detection.

“Breast self-awareness is essentially learning what’s normal for your breasts,” said Dr. Elizabeth Lunsford, OB-GYN with Riverside Health System. “When you know what your breasts normally look like or how they normally feel, then you’re more alert to any changes that might need to be checked by your health care provider.”

For decades, doctors asked women to regularly check their breasts for abnormal lumps or bumps and discharge. Until May 2003, the A...

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