Factors associated with perceived risk of breast cancer among women attending a screening program

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 1993 Nov;28(2):137-44. doi: 10.1007/BF00666426.


A person's perception of the risk of, or susceptibility to, developing a disease is believed to be an important determinant of health-related behavior, yet little is known about the determinants of perceived risk. Knowledge of these correlates may be useful in identifying and addressing barriers to performance of health behaviors such as mammography screening. Data collected from over 36,000 women participating in a breast cancer screening program in Texas were used to examine the associations between perceived risk of ever getting breast cancer and a number of demographic factors, health-related behaviors, and risk factors for breast cancer. There was a strong positive association between family history of breast cancer and risk perception (OR = 11.3, CI = 10.34-12.35). Women who reported other risk factors for breast cancer also reported higher perceived risk, but those associations were of lesser magnitude. Age was inversely associated with perceived risk, and black, but not Hispanic, women were more likely to perceive their risk as high compared with white women. Of the health-related behaviors for the early detection of breast cancer, only having had a prior mammogram was associated with perceived risk. Educational interventions to heighten women's awareness of breast cancer risk factors may increase perceived risk in high risk women and influence their decision to undergo screening mammography.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors