Self Exams by Charlie Lonidier

Monthly, head-to-toe Self Exams are an important part of my physical health.

It's generally accepted by the medical community for men to perform monthly Testicular Self Exam (TSE) between the ages of 15-55 years old.

I have always heard that women should begin performing monthly Breast Self Exam (BSE) beginning around 20 years old. Now a days, the American Cancer Society states:

"Research has not shown a clear benefit of regular physical breast exams done by either a health professional (clinical breast exams) or by women themselves (breast self-exams). There is very little evidence that these tests help find breast cancer early when women also get screening mammograms. Most often when breast cancer is detected because of symptoms (such as a lump), a woman discovers the symptom during usual activities such as bathing or dressing. Women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and should report any changes to a health care provider right away.

(While the American Cancer Society does not recommend regular clinical breast exams or breast self-exams as part of a routine breast cancer screening schedule, this does not mean that these exams should never be done. In some situations, particularly for women at higher than average risk, for example, health care providers may still offer clinical breast exams, along with providing counseling about risk and early detection. And some women might still be more comfortable doing regular self-exams as a way to keep track of how their breasts look and feel. But it’s important to understand that there is very little evidence that doing these exams routinely is helpful for women at average risk of breast cancer.)"

Should You ** OR ** Should You Not?

As a BRCA positive person, I urge everyone to learn how to perform self exams.

A few of my friends have confided with me, they would not perform self exams. I suspect modesty and stigma attached to touching one's erogenous zones are the main reasons people do not perform self checks. Let me be the first to clarify, in my opinion self exams are NOT to be stigmatized nor should they be considered self pleasure.

In my article Self Aid And Buddy Care, I reason that early detection increases the likelihood of a good outcome. I also ask everyone to start a personal self exam/buddy check program.

I would very much like to hear your thoughts and comments. Please email them to charlie@livingwithbrcagene.org. All feedback is appreciated.