New Breast Chek® Kit Helps Women Perform Self-Exams (dateline July 29, 2007)
Women have a new option to help them perform their monthly breast self-exams. The Breast Check Self-Examination Kit, recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is a device that increases touch sensitivity to help women better feel for lumps or abnormalities in their breasts. Performing monthly breast self-exams can help women more readily detect any changes that may occur and bring those changes to the attention of their physicians.
The American Cancer Society estimates that one in eight women with develop breast cancer in their lifetimes. Early detection can increase the chances of successful treatment and survival. Many physicians recommend that women 20 years of age and older perform monthly breast self-exams. In addition, women should receive annual clinical breast exams, and women 40 years of age and older should receive annual mammograms in addition to annual clinical breast exams and monthly breast self-exams.
According to The Pinky Promise, the distributor of the Breast Chek® Kit, the kit consists of a non-toxic lubricant sealed between two layers of special polyurethane. The bottom layer remains stable while the top layer moves freely over the breast tissue. The encased lubricant allows the user's hand to glide smoothly over the entire breast area and chest wall.
The mission of The Pinky Promise is to empower women to take control of their health by providing a support system and self-examination tools for the early detection of breast cancer. They also provide a free monthly email reminder. Women can sign up for an email to be sent to them on the day they designate to remind them to do their self-exam and then each month on that day they will be reminded to do their exam.
Richard A. James, MD FACS calls the Plexus Pink's Breast Chek® Kit a life-saving product. "If we could get this educational product into the hands of general practitioners to put into the hands of women to do the exam more often, we can really expand the number of people being taken care of and screened in the best possible fashion. When they see how easy it is the patients can take it home for continual application. In my opinion, the Plexus Pink product helps feel lumps earlier (than with bare hands) so you find them when they're smaller and it will increase survival."
In surveys of over 3,100 representatives from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Oncology Nursing Society, the American Society of Clinical Oncologists, and the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses, 98% or more found that the Breast Chek® kit was easy to use, reduced friction, and improved touch sensitivity. Nearly all of those surveyed said that they would recommend the kit to their patients.
The Breast Chek® kit sells for $39.95 including shipping and handling. According to The Pinky Promise, a portion of each sale goes to breast cancer research. 10% of all profits will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
While the scientific community debates whether breast self-exams save lives, most experts agree that if women learn to perform self-exams correctly, they could find a tumor earlier, when it is still very small. A smaller tumor improves the chances of saving a breast by avoiding a mastectomy, and may reduce the need for chemotherapy.
Breast changes and warning signs to watch for during breast self-exam include:
If any of these changes or other abnormalities are noted, women should see their physicians as soon as possible for clinical evaluation. However, it is important to note that in the majority of cases (80%), breast lumps and changes are not cancerous.
The Breast Chek® kit makes no claims that, even with its use, breast cancer, breast lumps, or breast diseases will be found. It should be used in conjunction with regular clinical breast examinations and mammograms as advised by your physician.