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Breast J. 2007 Jan-Feb;13(1):19-27.

Are tri-ethnic low-income women with breast cancer effective teachers of the importance of breast cancer screening to their first-degree relatives? Results from a randomized clinical trial.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago 60612, USA. denise_oleske@rush.edu


The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of women with breast cancer as teachers of the importance of breast cancer screening to their first-degree female relatives. The sample was restricted to low-income working age women recruited from four hospitals. The study design was a randomized clinical trial. At each hospital, breast cancer patients (probands) were randomized into one of two study groups: (i) intensive, individual educational training on breast cancer screening or (ii) standard clinic education on breast cancer screening. The probands were instructed to teach at least one of their first-degree female relatives (21+ years of age) about breast cancer screening techniques. Three to six months after the enrollment of the probands, their relatives were contacted by telephone to determine breast cancer screening practices. A total of 79 probands and 96 relatives participated in the study. Relatives in the education group when compared with the control group were: 1.25 times more likely to have clinical breast examination (p = 0.005), 2.83 times more likely to have scheduled a clinical breast examination (p = 0.046), and, 1.36 times more likely to have been told about performing breast self-examination (p = 0.05). Additionally, relatives in the education group were more likely to have received a pamphlet on breast cancer screening (RR = 1.58, p = 0.009) and have discussed the importance of breast cancer screening (RR = 1.33, p = 0.020) from the proband. Special education training did not impact mammography utilization of the relatives. From these findings, a tri-ethnic group of low-income women with breast cancer can be effective teachers of breast cancer screening practices, at least for promoting clinical breast examination and transmitting messaging for performance of breast self-examination if given the adequate training.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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