Device magnifies tiny lumps during breast self-exams; Aids with early cancer detection in both sexes
For the last two weeks some local spas have been distributing a new breast cancer device that can be used each month at home to assist men and women in the early detection of lumps in the early stages.
Nationally, breast cancer continues to be the most common form of cancer developed in women, and the second leading cause of death among women in the United States. In 2008, the American Cancer Society estimates that 182,460 women will have invasive breast cancer.
And while breast cancer is less likely among men, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 1,990 new cases of it in men this year.
The new device being carried in the Cape, named the Breast Self Examination Glove, is a highly sensitive detector that can sense lumps as small as sesame seeds or grains of sugar. Also, explained one of its distributors, Suzanne Thomas, it is a class two medical device, approved and regulated by the Federal Drug Administration.
It works by magnifying the hand’s sensation when rubbed across the breast during an examination, and the glove’s outside surface is gel-like, reducing friction and allowing for smooth movement across the breast.
“It magnifies the sensation in your hand,” explained Thomas. “People can’t believe the sensation difference when your fingers glide so you don’t miss anything.”
In the past the glove had been carried in certain pharmacies, she said, but most people were hesitant to invest in possible “gimmick” devices that hung next to a store’s cash register. Thomas, on the other hand, said the glove is highly effective — it has just never been explained to the public.
“It’s been around for awhile, some pharmacies used to sell them, but no one explained it to people,” said Thomas. “It isn’t disposable, it can be used on a monthly basis.”
The glove also comes with a specialized booklet that can be used to keep a monthly record of sensations and textures in the breast during a self exam. Later, that record can be shared with a physician during a yearly mammogram.
Lee Memorial’s Breast Health Centers currently offer a variety of examinations at Cape Coral Hospital and other hospital campuses in the health system. They have launched a campaign to encourage women over 40 to receive regular screenings.
According to Dr. Mai Saif with the Breast Health Centers, some women do not receive regular mammograms out of a fear that the procedure is painful. To combat this trend, the centers educate women on a specialized breast cushion used by the hospital that is fitted to the mammogram machine during an exam.
“The centers are focusing on overcoming barriers that often prevent women from getting mammograms. In particular, we want to address the fear that mammograms may be painful,” said Saif.
Thomas said only 14 percent of women currently give themselves self breast exams, yet 1 in 8 will develop breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. As women get older their risks of developing breast cancer increase, but studies indicate that the number of times these women receive an examination decreases.
“In today’s world we have to be proactive,” said Thomas.
Currently, the Breast Self Examination Glove is available at the Cape Coral Day and Toning Spa at 4406 S.E. 16th Place, Suite 104. Lee Memorial’s Breast Health Centers can be reached at 432-2554.