WJLA breast exam series controversial but important

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

WJLA has produced a four part series showing women how to perform breast self-exam. Though WJLA has come under fire from some for the full frontal nudity, reporters Gail Pennybacker and Julie Parker say there should be nothing controversial about the WJLA breast exam series.

Lauren Alrbright, a breast cancer survivor demonstrates on WJLA how women should properly perform a breast self exam. Lauren says, “If I can help somebody else who goes through this situation get the information that they need, I’ll feel like this has been worth it”. The series from WJLA, of course, is aimed at breast cancer awareness, but also comes at the end of breast cancer awareness month, raising skepticism about whether the series is a ploy to increase ratings, which have just begun.


The WJLA breast exam series is being aired at 5pm and 11pm. Bill Lord, WJLA-TV station manager says, “The purpose is very simple. The doctor’s we have talked to and the experts we have talked to say to really learn to do this correctly you need to actually see it. This is not something we have devised for our own purposes.”

Teaching women to perform breast self exams is important. The decision has created some shock and criticism. Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America insists the WJLA breast exam series was done for one reason only – to increase TV ratings.

WJLA reporters Gail Pennybacker and Julie Parker are enthusiastic. They say the series is a “great example to women all over America”. WJLA producers say it is necessary to see a woman’s breast in order to teach how to properly perform a breast self-exam. Susan G. Komen for the Cure, speaking about the WJLA breast exam series says, “While some may find this actual demonstration intrusive, others may view it as instructive and motivating. Providing these clear-cut instructions along with more information about breast self-awareness can also help a woman later during a more private time when she’s better able to focus.” The reporters are “proud”, and say “there is nothing sexy about breast self-exam.” If you want to learn how to do a breast self exam, that could save your life, tune into the WJLA breast exam series.