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Am J Prev Med. 1992 Sep-Oct;8(5):314-8.

Sensitivity and specificity of lump detection in breast models.

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Center for Nursing Research, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.


Lump detection accuracy in models provides an index of ability to detect lumps in breast tissue. Recent research suggests poor lump detection accuracy in nontrained persons. Following individualized nurse-provided instruction in breast self-examination (BSE), 113 well-educated white women exhibited 89% mean lump detection sensitivity and 81% mean specificity (sensitivity = number of lumps correctly identified divided by actual lumps; specificity = percentage of exams completed without detection of false lumps). Problems with hands were potentially linked to poor specificity. Completeness of search was significantly associated with sensitivity. Lumps most unlikely to be detected were those in the fleshy upper outer quadrant of torso models. High accuracy levels here may be attributable to timing of assessments, homogeneous sample, models used, numbers/sizes of lumps, and long search times. BSE instruction should emphasize complete search, examination of outer quadrant of breasts, and assessment of hand problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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