There are a number of apps that show you how to do breast self-checks or examine your breasts. These are often called breast self-examination apps. Many apps use different techniques such as diagrams and images, animation and interactive screens.
App reviews – breast self-examination apps
The following app, Pre Check, by the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ, is an interactive app for breast self-checks.
|Pre Check app
||The Pre Check app is an interactive breast model that shows some of the breast changes associated with breast cancer. The app has information on changes in the breast that may indicate cancer, such as a new lump or thickening, puckering or dimpling of your skin. Users can set reminders for regular self-checks. Read more about the Pre Check app|
Breast self-examination vs breast awareness
Regular breast self-examination (BSE) is the formal and structured technique for feeling for breast changes, at regular intervals, such as every month. This practice is not recommended because the evidence shows that it doesn't reduce breast cancer-related deaths. It is not entirely safe either, as it increases the risk of having an unnecessary breast biopsy and causing anxiety.1
Instead it is preferred that women be ‘breast aware'. This means you should:
- be familiar with the usual look and feel of your breasts and know what is normal for you
- know what breast changes to look and feel for
- be "sensibly alert" to changes in your breasts, and see your doctor if you notice any changes
- have a mammogram every 2 years if you are aged 45 to 69 years (see breast screening)
- know your family history of cancer.
It's important for you to know what your breasts and nipples look like and how they ordinarily feel before and after your period, so that you can easily identify any changes. This can be done while dressing or showering. Women of all ages should be familiar with their breasts, but it becomes more important as you get older because the risk of breast cancer increases with age. Read more about breast lumps and changes.
There are many things you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer. This includes maintaining a health body weight if you are post-menopausal, exercising regularly, reducing alcohol consumption and not smoking.
Breast awareness – what you need to know(external link) Breast Cancer Foundation, NZ, 2019
Risk factors for breast cancer(external link) Breast Cancer Foundation, NZ
Risk reduction and healthy lifestyle choices(external link) Breast Cancer Foundation, NZ
Security and privacy of health apps
Pre Check app
Breast lumps and changes
Quitting smoking topics
NZ Health App Library
Consumer guide: how to choose a health app
Clinicians guide: how to choose a health app
- Information on breast awareness(external link) National Screening Unit, Cancer Society of New Zealand, New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, 2013
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