The role of breast self-examination in early breast cancer detection (results of the 5-years USSR/WHO randomized study in Leningrad)
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A randomized population-based study has been carried out since 1985 in Leningrad in order to evaluate the efficacy of breast self-examination (BSE) in early breast cancer detection. The population under study covers 120,310 women aged 40–64 years with no history of breast cancer.
About half of these women were exposed to BSE training (60,221) and 60,098 women constituted the control group. BSE teaching was carried out on a person-to-person basis and each patient received the BSE calendar. ME education sessions resulted in a higher frequency of visits to specialists with complaints about “pathology” of the breast, a higher rate of referral to a specialized institution for an examination, and a higher number of excision biopsies due to a benign lesion (RR = 1.5; 95% C.I. = 1.1 – 1.9) as compared with the control group. As a result of examination, 190 breast cancer patients in the BSE group and 192 patients in the control group were detected. Comparisons of patients from both groups with regard to the size of primary tumor and the incidence of metastatic lesion in the regional lymph nodes showed no differences. The study is ongoing and all cases of breast cancer in the BSE group will be registered up to 1994 and followed-up to 1999; information will then be available on the impact of BSE upon breast cancer mortality.
Key wordsCancer Breast Self-examination Early detection
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