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Br J Cancer. 1989 Sep;60(3):401-5.

Results from a seven-year programme of breast self-examination in 89,010 women.

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Nottingham General Hospital, UK.


This report presents the results of a study into the effect of breast self-examination (BSE) in a large defined population within the City of Nottingham since 1979. We have examined the effect of breast self-examination in a group of patients invited to attend for education in BSE compared with a group of historical controls. No overall survival advantage has been demonstrated for the study group but within the latter group patients who had attended for instruction in BSE had a significantly better actuarial survival at 13 years than those who did not (P less than 0.001). Patients in the study group presented with significantly smaller tumours which were more likely to be of better histological grade and lymph node stage. A case-control study has demonstrated the value of attendance for BSE particularly in post-menopausal women. Although BSE is not as sensitive as mammographic screening, patients who practise it present with more favourable tumour characteristics and its value in post-menopausal women supports its use as an adjunct to mammographic screening.

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