Socioeconomic factors, not ethnicity predict breast self-examination

Atul K. Madan, Catherine B. Barden, Bettina Beech, Kelly Fay, Maureen Sintich, Derrick J. Beech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The American Cancer Society has recommended monthly breast self-examinations (BSEs) to aid in the early detection of breast cancer. Compliance with BSE recommendations has been shown to be decreased in certain ethnic groups. This investigation evaluates relevant variables involved in BSE compliance in an urban breast cancer screening center. A survey over a 1-year period (June 1996-June 1997) was given to all patients on their initial visit to the Breast Health Center at Tulane University Medical Center. Demographic and socioeconomic factors associated with the compliance of BSE were explored. The overall rate of BSE was relatively high at 80%. There was no difference between ethnic groups in rates of BSE (Caucasians 21% versus African Americans 20%). Statistically significant variables associated with BSE noncompliance were high school education (did not complete high school 16% versus completed high school 33%; p < 0.0004), employment status (employed 16% versus unemployed 31%; p < 0.0004), and marital status (married 15% versus single/divorced 22%; p < 0.05). While the majority of women in our study practiced BSE and ethnicity did not predict BSE, several socioeconomic factors were predictive of BSE compliance. Efforts to increase community outreach to lower socioeconomic patients as well as efforts to ensure proficient BSE techniques by patients may help detect early breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-266
Number of pages4
JournalBreast Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Breast cancer
  • Breast self-examination
  • Ethnic groups
  • Socioeconomic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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