Impact of benign breast biopsy upon breast self-examination

Prev Med. 2004 Jun;38(6):723-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.01.006.


Current American Cancer Society guidelines recommend monthly performance of breast self-examination (BSE) for women over 20 years of age. While the experience of a benign breast biopsy can result in elevated levels of distress, the impact of benign biopsy upon breast cancer (BC) screening behavior is not well known. The present study examined frequency of BSE practice in 102 women after benign breast biopsy (biopsy group). Telephone interviews were completed a mean of 21 days (initial interview) and 8 months after biopsy (follow-up interview). A healthy comparison (HC) group of women (n = 76) without a history of breast biopsy completed an initial interview only. Information regarding distress, dispositional characteristics, BC screening-related attitudes and behaviors, and subjective and objective risk for BC was collected. Results indicated that the biopsy and HC groups did not differ in typical (i.e., prebiopsy) practice of BSE. However, practice of BSE changed after biopsy with a general trend toward a decrease in BSE frequency. Only 8% of women in the biopsy group reported appropriate (once per month) practice of BSE at the 8-month Follow-up while 28% reported appropriate practice at the initial interview. Decreases in BSE performance after biopsy were characteristic of younger women, women who lacked confidence in the ability to perform BSE correctly, and women whose biopsy was preceded by discovery of a breast lump or abnormality during BSE. Results suggest the potential value of a psychoeducational intervention after biopsy to enhance appropriate performance of BSE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Self-Examination*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Middle Aged