Why is a breast exam needed and how often should it be done?

Breast examination is a way in which early changes can be detected, as survival chances are excellent if cancers are detected early. Self-examination should be done monthly, just after a period. If you would like to learn how to do this, see the Web Link to the left. This should not replace examination by a doctor, which should be done yearly for women over 40, and three-yearly before this. These checks may need to be more frequent if you have significant risk factors, so ask your doctor how often it should be performed. Self examination should also not replace mammograms as lumps can be easily missed while some types of cancer will not show up as a lump.