Breast cancer charities today urged women to beware of a new self-examination “glove” said to be as effective as a mammogram at detecting lumps.
The £25 BE gLOVE is designed to magnify finger sensitivity 15 times, making it easier for women to feel hard areas in their breasts.
A clinical study in Italy found the ultra-thin polyurethane glove performed as well as mammography cancer screening, according to manufacturer IC Pharma.
But today two leading charities warned women not to rely on BE gLOVE or similar products to detect lumps.
Mia Rosenblatt, from Breast Cancer Campaign, said: "Evidence that devices of this nature can improve detection of breast tumours is very limited, so we urge women not to use tools such as the BE gLOVE as a substitute for mammograms or for being breast aware.
"We encourage all women to check their breasts regularly, know what is normal for them and discuss any concerns with their GP."
A similar message was delivered by Sally Greenbrook, from the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
She said: "It is so important that women are not misled when it comes to checking their breasts. We do not advocate the use of these gloves and we would like to reassure women that there is no need to spend money on products like these.
"The best way for women to be breast aware is to know their own breasts. It's as simple as TLC - Touch your breasts, Look for any changes and Check anything unusual out with your doctor."
BE gLOVE works by reducing friction on the skin, preventing lumps from being pushed away by the fingers.
The clinical study conducted by Professor Stafano Varardi, plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the University of Rome, compared women carrying out self-examination with their bare hands or using the glove.
Those given the BE gLOVE detected the same number of lumps as were identified by mammography, according to IC Pharma. Women using their bare hands only spotted 50% of the lumps revealed by breast screening.
Official guidelines advise women to carry out breast self-examinations each month, but a survey by IC Pharma showed that most women only examined themselves two to three times a year, and 55% did not know the right way to look for lumps.
Company spokeswoman Karen Winterhalter said: "At the age when women should include breast self-examinations as an essential part of their routine in taking care of their health, it is staggering to see that 55% of women do not know what they are doing.
"Whilst we know that nine out of 10 lumps found in the breast are not cancerous, it is extremely important for women to check their breasts regularly, so it becomes part of their routine in caring for themselves.
"Being ultra-sensitive and effective to use, BE gLOVE makes it easy for all women to perform monthly breast self-examination."