More than 50% of women diagnosed with breast cancer find a breast lump during a breast-self exam versus a mammogram, a study published in the Journal of Women's Health reported. This highlights the importance of performing regular breast-self exams, and there's an app that helps make it a whole lot easier. Developed by The Get In Touch Foundation, the Daisy Wheel app teaches you how to perform a breast-self exam in eight easy steps.
Available for iOS devices, Daisy Wheel offers both education about how to perform a breast-self exam and reminders for when to do your exam. The concept was developed in 2004 when Mary Ann Wasil, a mother of three, found a lump in her left breast during a self exam. This life-changing event prompted her to start The Get In Touch Foundation to encourage more women to perform breast-self exams, the foundation's website noted.
I will admit that I don't regularly perform breast-self exams. I know I should, but I forget and I'm not entirely sure how to do it. The great thing about the Daisy Wheel app is that it takes the guess work out of taking charge of your breast health, according to women who use it.
"I love this app, it helps me keep track of my health during my busy life. The app just easily set[s] a 'BSE reminder' every two weeks into my iPhone calendar, which helps me stay on track," one reviewer noted on the App Store. "The [Daisy Wheel] itself is easy to understand for everyone."
Even if you're already getting annual mammograms, performing regular breast-self exams is still important. "Data demonstrate[s] that individual U.S. women are almost as likely as healthcare professionals to notice the first signs of breast cancer. Even as women reach the recommended age for mammographic screening, they still frequently self-detect abnormalities that lead to a breast cancer diagnosis," the study from the Journal of Women's Health noted.
Because most women don't get their first mammogram until age 40, and more and more women are being diagnosed with breast cancer in their 20s and 30s, breast-self exams can save lives. I have a close friend who was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in her 30s after finding a lump in her breast during a self exam. Because this is one of the hardest forms of breast cancer to treat, her early diagnosis is likely the reason she's alive today.
If you're new to performing breast-self exams, and you have an iPhone or iPad, download the app to get started. If you don't have an iOS device, you can still learn the eight-step breast-self exam process on The Get In Touch Foundation's website or by watching this video.
Wasil passed away from breast cancer in 2016, but her legacy lives on with the Daisy Wheel. In addition to the app, The Get In Touch Foundation offers its Daisy Wheel Program free to school nurses and health educators across the country and around the world to empower girls and young women to perform their own breast-self exams and take charge of their breast health.