Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 431–442 | Cite as

Patterns and predictors of the breast cancer detection methods in women under 45 years of age (United States)

  • Ralph J. Coates
  • Robert J. Uhler
  • Donna J. Brogan
  • Marilie D. Gammon
  • Kathleen E. Malone
  • Christine A. Swanson
  • Elaine W. Flagg
  • Louise A. Brinton


Objectives: Few studies have examined methods by which breast cancers are detected, and only one study has been published on predictors of those methods. This study examined patterns and predictors of breast cancer detection methods during 1990–1992 among women age 20–44.

Methods: In-person interview and medical record data were obtained during a population-based case–control study of 1619 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer in three areas of the United States (US).

Results: Seventy-one percent of the cancers were identified by self-detection, 9% by routine clinical breast exam (CBE), and 20% by routine mammography. Cancers detected by mammography and CBE, but not those detected by breast self-exam, were much more likely to be early-stage. Detection by mammography increased with age, and a history of mammography use was associated with detection by mammography or CBE. Several commonly studied predictors of screening utilization in the US population were associated with CBE detection, but were less clearly related to or unrelated to mammography detection.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that, during the 1990s in the US, most breast cancers among women under age 45, including those age 40–44, were self-detected. Few factors other than age and prior screening are verified predictors of method of breast cancer detection.

breast cancer detection mammography screening young women 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph J. Coates
    • 1
  • Robert J. Uhler
    • 1
  • Donna J. Brogan
    • 2
  • Marilie D. Gammon
    • 3
  • Kathleen E. Malone
    • 4
  • Christine A. Swanson
    • 5
  • Elaine W. Flagg
    • 6
  • Louise A. Brinton
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Cancer Prevention and ControlCDCAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiostatisticsEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Division of EpidemiologyColumbia School of Public HealthNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Division of Public Health SciencesFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  5. 5.Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer InstituteBethesdaUSA
  6. 6.Department of MedicineEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

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