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Am J Prev Med. 1990 Jul-Aug;6(4):208-17.

Effectiveness of methods used to teach breast self-examination.

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Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Hospital, Charles A. Dana Research Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.


The efficacy of breast self-examination (BSE) is limited by the extent to which women can be taught to perform a frequent and proficient examination. We randomized 783 women from a health maintenance organization into group instruction, individual instruction, individual instruction with a reminder system, or minimal intervention designed to simulate an office encounter where BSE was encouraged but not taught. The percentage of lumps 1 cm and smaller detected in silicone breast models, the number of false-positive detections, the search technique, and the self-reported BSE frequency were measured before and four months after intervention. Multiple tests for comparisons of interventions showed that the interventions containing BSE instruction were comparable in increasing true- and false-positive detection of lumps and in improving search technique, but the minimal intervention resulted in lower scores for all three outcomes (P less than .0001). Women in all four intervention groups increased their BSE frequency over the four-month follow-up period, but the greatest improvement in frequency was reported among women receiving reminders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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