A community-wide program in breast self-examination training and maintenance

Prev Med. 1990 May;19(3):254-69. doi: 10.1016/0091-7435(90)90026-g.


This study reports on the effects of innovative community-wide breast self-examination education approaches in increasing breast self-examination frequency and quality, and ability to detect breast lumps during a 1-year training program and a second-year maintenance program. Four Vermont communities were randomly assigned to receive breast self-examination training plus maintenance, training alone, control (with full measurement), and low-measurement control. Random digit dialing telephone surveys were conducted at baseline and at 1- and 2-year follow-up with a panel of 637 women representing all adult women in the first three communities. The low-measurement control community received only baseline and second-year follow-up surveys with a panel of 238 women. Home interviews to determine breast self-examination palpation skills and lump detection on silicone breast models were conducted in first- and second-year follow-up surveys. Results of the first-year follow-up survey indicated significant increases in breast self-examination frequency, quality, and number of lumps detected for women in communities receiving the training program compared with controls; in the second year, women in the community also receiving breast self-examination maintenance showed greater improvement in reported breast self-examination quality and detected more breast lumps than did women in other communities.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Middle Aged
  • Palpation*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Random Allocation