Coaching helps women check breasts well


Women have heard for many years that one of the best ways to find breast cancer early is for them to check their own breasts once a month.


One health insurance group also says that women who are taught how to perform the procedure were 10 times more likely to do it correctly.


In the Kaiser Permanente study, they were given a coaching session and two follow-up calls.


"Many women avoid breast self-exams because they are worried about doing them correctly; however, our study showed that with a relatively simple intervention, women can learn the proper technique, and once they feel confident they will continue to do their exams," said lead author Nangel Lindberg.


Before the counseling, about 6 percent of women were performing adequate self-exams, researchers found. One year later, 59 percent of those who got guidance were performing adequate self-exams.


In a similar group of women who just read some materials, only 12 percent were doing it right.


Komen For The Cure says on its Web site that women should especially look for lumps or thickenings, swelling, changes in the size or shape of the breast and dimpling or puckering on the skin.


The site also provides step-by-step insturctions for performing a proper self-examination.