For many years, doctors have recommended that all women examine their own breasts each month to help detect the earliest signs of cancer.
However, when large groups of women who do or don't do regular breast self-exams are compared, the two groups have an almost equal risk of dying from breast cancer. Adding breast self-exams to doctor exams and mammograms doesn't help breast cancer to be found much more quickly.
In 2003, the American Cancer Society changed its guidelines to say that "it is acceptable for women to choose not to do breast self-exams or to do it occasionally."
Talk to your doctor about whether breast self-exams make sense for you.