First degree relatives of breast cancer patients: screening practices and provision of risk information

Cancer Detect Prev. 1991;15(5):379-84.


Little is known about breast cancer screening knowledge and behaviors among women with a family history of breast cancer. Data gathered from 125 first-degree relatives of breast cancer patients indicated that only 63.3% of women over age 35 "ever" had a mammogram, 53% of women 40 or older reported a mammogram in the last year, and only 36.8% of all participants reported monthly breast self-exam (BSE). Self-reported BSE competence was generally poor. One hundred five (105) (84%) reported a clinical breast exam over the previous year. Only 71 (56.8%) of the women indicated that they had been asked about their family history of breast cancer by their physician, and minimal information about risk related to family history was provided. Worry about developing breast cancer was positively related to mammography use and BSE competence. Confidence in performing BSE and learning BSE from a physician/nurse were both positively related to competence. Women who believed they had control over finding breast cancer in its early stages reported more frequent BSE. Poor compliance of women with a family history of breast cancer in the practice of BSE and utilization of mammography, and lack of risk information provided by physicians mandate a search for effective intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety
  • Attitude to Health
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Self-Examination / methods
  • Breast Self-Examination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Palpation
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physician's Role
  • Risk Factors