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Evaluating Breast Self-Examinations in a Military Beneficiary Population

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Despite the recommendations of the American Cancer Society for all women 20 years and older to perform monthly breast self-examinations BSE, studies have shown that only 30 of females perform BSE. With over two million female military beneficiaries, the importance of assuring BSE is an essential secondary preventive health care practice to ensure a healthy force and a healthy military family. This study was a nonexperimental, descriptive study using Ajzen and Fishbein s Theory of Reasoned Actionas the theoretical framework to describe the characteristics associated with BSE performance. Using a non-random, voluntary, convenience sample of female military beneficiaries 20 years and older in a regional U.S. Army healthcare system located in the northeastern United States, 110 participants completed the 24-question Breast Self-Examination Questionnaire. Results revealed a high rate of BSE performance and intention to perform BSE. Motivators to perform BSE were early detection, healthyright thing to do, and personal riskfamily history. Most of the women felt that there were no barriers regarding BSE, but a few women noted forgetfulness and lack of time as a barrier. The most significant negative attitude of BSE was the unacceptability that BSE involves thinking about breast cancer. Ninety percent of the women agreed that their healthcare provider and the media recommend BSE performance, and they had the greatest motivation to comply with their healthcare provider s recommendation. The results of this study indicate the need for healthcare providers to recommend BSE to their patients and to explore those variables that influence BSE performance.

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