Breast Cancer Screening Discussion

Breast Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer Screening

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Breast Cancer Screening

Why is breast self-examination being replaced in the breast cancer screening guidelines by mammography and breast magnetic resonance imaging?

Breast cancer screening is normally done to facilitate early detection. This is important as it saves millions of lives in the world. According to guidelines by the American Cancer Society, breast screening should be done regularly.  One of the most common and most easy methods is breast self-exam (BSE).  This method has been advocated for in the recent past as it enables the women have sense of control over their breasts. Research highlights that over 70% of breast cancers incidences have been reported via BSE screening technique (Mahon, 2012).

However, there have been critiques on BSE screening method; especially due to increased incidences of benign biopsy. This is attributable to low specificity and sensitivity values. The excessive biopsies are associated with risk of cancer, emotional stress and disfiguring of the breast. The guidelines also tend to favour breast magnetic resonance imaging as well as mammography over breast self-exam method of breast screening.  Magnetic resonance and mammography breast screening methods have high level of specify and sensitivity (Morrow, Waters, & Morris, 2011).

What are the risks associated with breast cancer screening? Do the risks outweigh the benefits? Why or why not?

 Breast screening is important, especially for the woman in the case study as she is at high risk age. Breast screening involves process that aid in detecting breast cancer at early stage. Breast screening is done using many methods including mammogram, breast self-exam, and magnetic resonance imaging among others. Breast screening saves lives by ensuring that cancer is detected early, and appropriate interventions are made on a timely manner (Morrow, Waters, & Morris, 2011).

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 However, there are risks involved in breast screening. To begin with, it is vital for a patient to understand that breast screenings does not prevent cancer. Some of the processes are uncomfortable and is associated with mild pain. Additionally, some processes involve use of X-rays- indicating that patients are exposed to radiation, which could lead to side effects.

However, the benefits outweigh the risks; therefore, every woman should be encouraged to undergo breast screening. There are many things that cause changes in the breast tissue. Although some of them could be harmless, it if important to get breasts checked as there is a small chance that the changes ignored are first indicator of cancer (Mahon, 2012).


Mahon, S. (2012). Screening for breast cancer: Evidence and recommendations. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 16 (6), 567-571. doi10.1188/12.CJON.567-571

Morrow, M., Waters, J., & Morris, E. (2011). MRI for breast cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Lancet, 378, 1804– 1811. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(11)61350-0

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