Ask the Doctor
November 23, 2010
Should I get a second opinion?

Dear Doc,

I went to the doctor because I felt a lump in my breast. He said that he felt nothing unusual and that I should not worry. He did not request any other investigations. I am 49 years old and have been examining my breasts monthly for the past 15 years. Should I get a second opinion?{{more}}


Dear Coleen

Go get another opinion fast.

Self breast examination is an important tool in early diagnosis of breast cancer, especially the ones that are accompanied by lumps. Doctors can attest to the fact that a patient’s own initiative in self examination is a reliable tool in surveillance.

The objective of self breast examination is to first be familiar with your own breast when it is normal. With repeated examinations, it would make it easier to distinguish changes. It is comparable to a blind person functioning as if they were not in their own home. All breasts are not the same and some races have more bulky fat tissue than others. A person who knows her own breast can therefore note changes before someone who has only examined the breast for the first time or less frequently.

Doctors are experts at their work, but it takes a brave physician to be convinced that a person who has been examining her breasts for significant years would be wrong, without further investigations. Cases like these should be further investigated by ultrasound and/or mammogram – at least to give greater assurance.


SVG Cancer Society,

P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.


Phone: 526-7036