This study investigated the effectiveness of different methods of breast self-examination (BSE) on coverage of breast area and lump detection, using a factorial design, pairing three search patterns (concentric circle, radial spoke, vertical strip) with two finger palpation techniques (small circular movements, sliding movements). Ninety-seven female undergraduates were randomly assigned to one of six BSE training conditions which were identical except in the BSE search pattern and finger palpation technique explained by the instructor. Following the 20-min, small-group training, subjects' coverage of breast area was assessed by scoring their BSE performance on a breast board. Lump detection was determined by the number of lumps correctly identified in silicone breast models. Results indicated that the vertical strip pattern was associated with significantly greater coverage of the breast area. There were no significant differences in lump detection; however, the sliding finger palpation technique resulted in significantly more false identifications of lumps.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
American Cancer Society (1987). Special touch: A personal plan of action for breast health, 87-1MM-No. 2095-LE.
American Cancer Society (1989). Cancer statistics, 1989.Ca Cancer J. Clin. 39: 3–21.
Baines, C. J. (1987). Breast palpation technique: What is the finger pad?J. Chron. Dis. 40(4): 361–362.
Diem, G., and Rose, D. P. (1985). Has breast self-examination had a fair trial?N.Y. State J. Med. 85(8): 479–480.
Duer, J. D., and Santurri, D. A. (1984a). Group vs. individual training of breast self-examination. Poster presented at the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
Duer, J. D., and Santurri, D. A. (1984b). The effects of breast self-examination procedures on bilateral transfer of skill. Poster presented at the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
Feldman, J. G., Carter, A. C., Nicastri, A. D., and Hosat, S. T. (1981). Breast self-examination, relationship to stage of breast cancer at diagnosis.Cancer 47: 2740–2745.
Foster, R. S., Jr., and Costanza, M. C. (1984). Breast self-examination practices and breast cancer survival.Cancer 53: 999–1005.
Foster, R. S., Jr., Lang, S. P., Costanza, M. C., Worden, J. K., Haines, C. R., and Yates, J. W. (1978). Breast self-examination practices and breast-cancer stage.N. Engl. J. Med. 299: 265–270.
O'Malley, M. S., and Fletcher, S. W. (1987). Screening for breast cancer with breast self-examination: A critical review.JAMA 257: 2196–2203.
Pennypacker, H. S., Bloom, H. S., Criswell, E. L., Neelakantan, P., Goldstein, M. K., and Stein, G. H. (1982). Toward an effective technology in breast self-examination.Int. J. Ment. Health 11: 98–116.
Saunders, K. J., Pilgrim, C. A., and Pennypacker, H. S. (1986). Increased proficiency of search in breast self-examination.Cancer 58: 2531–2537.
This research was funded by the Vermont Regional Cancer Center.
About this article
Cite this article
Atkins, E., Solomon, L.J., Worden, J.K. et al. Relative effectiveness of methods of breast self-examination. J Behav Med 14, 357–367 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00845112
- breast self-examination
- early detection