Sunday, July 16, 2006

Vertical Strip Breast Exam

No more running circles around your breasts. The three-finger, three-pressure, 'Vertical Strip' method is now the exploration of choice according to both the CDC and the American Cancer Society.

This is definitely not your palpate-and-run technique, requiring 3-5 minutes per breast whether it's you or your clinician checking you out. Using the pads of your first 3 fingers, apply light touch in overlapping vertical strips from your collarbone to the ridge below your breasts, from your breastbone to the lymph nodes under your arm. Then do it again with medium pressure, and yet again with firm pressure.

Does that seem like a heap of a lot of palpating? Be reassured, Dr. Elizabeth Steiner of the North American Primary Care Research Group tells us, "In our study, for every 15 seconds you took, it made you 29% more likely to find a 3-mm. mass."

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