Women's practice of breast self examination following surgical intervention for breast cancer

Carol Ann Rayfield, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the breast self examination practices of women with the diagnosis of breast cancer who have undergone surgical intervention. A descriptive design was employed to address the problem under study, specifically: the BSE practices of women who have experienced surgery for breast cancer. Participants were obtained from several general surgical practices in a major metropolitan city in a southwestern state (N = 97). The women were English speaking, who were at least three months post surgical intervention. The data was collected by way of two questionnaires that were mailed to the participants. The Toronto Breast Self Examination Instrument permitted discrimination between BSE performers and nonperformers with emphasis on health background, motivation, proficiency and knowledge. The reported reliability coefficients were (0.47, 0.87, 0.70) for each subscale of the instrument. The Lauver Belief and Attitudes Scale consisted of 55 questions that provided information regarding the participant's perceptions concerning BSE within a three month interval; The variables of knowledge and motivation did not provide evidence for an association with the frequency of BSE. The variable proficiency was found to be associated with the high frequency of BSE, but did not assist with explaining the unusually high performance rate. Demographic variables were considered in this study, however statistical verification was not achieved; Of the sample, 91.8% stipulated that their last physical exam included a breast exam. However, 59.1% and 65.9% indicated the physician did not teach or review BSE respectively. Nursing was also remiss in reviewing or teaching BSE in this sample. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).