Mammograms Don’t Replace Breast Self-Exams

Published on October 28, 2007 in Diseases & Conditions, Herbal Medicine, Womens Health


Women find their own breast cancers most of the time (90% of the time according to one English study).

Monthly breast self-exam (or breast self-massage) provides early detection at lower cost, with no danger – and more pleasure – than yearly screening mammograms.

Most breast cancers (80%) are slow growing, taking between 42 and 300 days to double in size. A yearly mammogram could find these cancers 8-16 months before they could be felt, but this “early detection” does little to improve the already excellent longevity of women with slow-growing, non-metastasized breast cancers.

The 20% of breast cancers that are fast growing are the trouble-makers. They can double in size in 21 days. Monthly breast self-exams are much more likely to find these aggressive cancers than are yearly mammograms. (A 21-day doubling cancer will be visible on a mammogram only six weeks before it can be felt.) If you massage or examine your breasts even six times a year, you can take action on fast-growing lumps. If you rely on mammograms exclusively, the cancer could grow undetected for months.

In a recent look at 60,000 breast cancer diagnoses in the United States, 67% were found by the woman or her doctor – and over half of these were not visible on a mammogram – while 33% were discovered by mammogram. (This may seem like a substantial number of cancers found by mammography, but the majority of them were in situ cancers, a controversial type of cancer that may – but often does not – progress to invasive cancer.)

Green blessings!


Susun Weed
PO Box 64
Woodstock, NY 12498