Good news in the bad news: Women who are at risk of getting a more aggressive type of breast cancer are also most likely to detect the cancer by breast self-exam. This came out in a study where a hundred and fifty breast cancer patients have been diagnosed by different methods in the Netherlands.
A considerable amount of the risk comes from the genes: Women with an unfavourable variety of the BRCA1 gene are at a higher risk of getting a fast growing breast cancer type. But these women also have the best odds of detecting the cancer by breast self-exam: More than fourty percent of cancers have been detected by the women themselves, without a mammogram.
Conclusion: Mammograms have also proven to be effective in this study. But breast self-exam is a very important method to detect more cancers, above all in women of highest risk.
Wikipedia: Breast cancer and the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.
(Picture by briantologist @ Flickr)