Excessive breast self-examination among first-degree relatives of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients

Steven A. Epstein, Ting Hsiang Lin, Janet Audrain, Michael Edward Stefanek, Barbara Rimer, Caryn Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

First-degree relatives (FDRs) of women with breast cancer may have heightened anxiety about their personal risk for developing breast cancer. Breast self-examination (BSE) is an important component of risk surveillance for all women. In this study, the authors describe a subset of FDRs who appear to excessively (≤ once per day) perform BSE. These women, who constituted 8% of 1,053 FDRs in this study, were compared with women who did not examine excessively. The excessive self-examiners were older, more frequently African American, and less educated. They were more likely to have an affected daughter and ≤ two FDRs with breast cancer. They were significantly more likely to think frequently about breast cancer and to report that such thoughts affected their mood. In a multivariate analysis, three variables had significant independent associations with excessive BSE practice: ethnicity (odds ratio [OR] = 2.3), perceived risk of breast cancer compared with women without a family history (OR = 2.9), and frequency of thoughts about breast cancer (OR = 5.5). The women who practice excessive BSE would benefit from enhanced educational efforts and screening for the presence of psychiatric problems such as anxiety and hypochondriasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-261
Number of pages9
JournalPsychosomatics
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

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Breast Self-Examination
Breast Neoplasms
Odds Ratio
Anxiety
Hypochondriasis
Nuclear Family
African Americans
Psychiatry
Cancer Patients
Breast Cancer
Multivariate Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Epstein, S. A., Lin, T. H., Audrain, J., Stefanek, M. E., Rimer, B., & Lerman, C. (1997). Excessive breast self-examination among first-degree relatives of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. Psychosomatics, 38(3), 253-261. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0033-3182(97)71462-2

Excessive breast self-examination among first-degree relatives of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. / Epstein, Steven A.; Lin, Ting Hsiang; Audrain, Janet; Stefanek, Michael Edward; Rimer, Barbara; Lerman, Caryn.

In: Psychosomatics, Vol. 38, No. 3, 01.01.1997, p. 253-261.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Epstein, SA, Lin, TH, Audrain, J, Stefanek, ME, Rimer, B & Lerman, C 1997, 'Excessive breast self-examination among first-degree relatives of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients', Psychosomatics, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 253-261. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0033-3182(97)71462-2
Epstein, Steven A. ; Lin, Ting Hsiang ; Audrain, Janet ; Stefanek, Michael Edward ; Rimer, Barbara ; Lerman, Caryn. / Excessive breast self-examination among first-degree relatives of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. In: Psychosomatics. 1997 ; Vol. 38, No. 3. pp. 253-261.
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