My sister injured her knee very badly during an exercise class. One of my best friends and I are in agreement that this is a very good reason not to exercise.
A breast self-exam is kind of the same thing.
Right around the time of Miss I.'s arrival, I noticed something. I didn't think that something could be really something (or if it was, I thought it was a swollen gland) -- after all, what were the odds? With everything else I already have? Just after the baby finally came home?! But since I'd found it, I decided to ask my doctor. We followed it through my cycles for two months, and it didn't change. And she found another.
Dh had a dream that night. Dh, who never dreams (or never remembers dreaming, which is more likely), dreamt that I left him, and left a message asking when he wanted to meet me to get the kids. I was leaving them too. Since I'm in the middle of reading The Interpretation of Dreams, I was trying to figure out how that could possibly be wishfulfillment and not an anxiety dream (but Wittgenstein argues that Freud's work suffers for his urphanomen, and I can't argue with that). Dh couldn't decide if it was a dream about breast cancer or about my supreme frustration of late, but either way, he was mad at me. Even after he woke up.
Radiology at our women's hospital also takes the possibility of breast cancer in a young (not that I feel young) woman seriously, and they squeezed me in right away to squeeze me. The radiologist did the exam himself. He asked if I'd found the lump myself: "During a self-exam? No one does those things."
I did, and I found something, and I'm fine.
On the one hand, the possibility of false alarm - or, if you're avoidant like me, of a real alarm - seems like a good reason not to do a breast self-exam. On the other hand, it isn't better not to know.