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Explore (NY). 2015 May-Jun;11(3):193-8. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2015.02.008. Epub 2015 Feb 14.

Warning dreams preceding the diagnosis of breast cancer: a survey of the most important characteristics.

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Healing Imager, P.C., 2713 Winton Road, Durham, NC 27707. Electronic address:



There are rare reports of warning dreams about breast cancer in the dream literature and even fewer in the medical literature. Anxiety about breast cancer is increasing due to uncertainty about conflicting guidelines regarding mammography screening.


The purpose of the study was to survey women with breast cancer who had warning dreams prior to diagnosis to determine the most common and important characteristics of these dreams.


Eighteen women with a known diagnosis of breast cancer completed a survey of 19 Yes or No questions about their warning dreams and submitted dream narratives.


The five most common characteristics of warning dreams in descending order of frequency reported in the survey were: a sense of conviction about the importance in 94%; the dreams were more vivid, real or intense than ordinary in 83%; an emotional sense of threat, menace or dread in 72%; the use of the specific words breast cancer/tumor in 44%; and the sense of physical contact with the breast in 39%.


Warning dreams of breast cancer were often reported to be life changing experiences that prompted medical attention leading directly to diagnosis. Further research needs to be done to determine the frequency of such dreams in women without known breast cancer in order to assess the predictive value of a warning dream. These preliminary results suggest that keeping a dream diary might be a useful adjunct to routine self-examination as part of a breast self-care program, particularly for women in a high-risk category.


Dream; breast; cancer; diagnosis; precognitive; warning

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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