A population based programme to educate women in breast self-examination (BSE) was organised as part of the UK Trial of Early Detection of Breast Cancer. Women who responded to an invitation to a meeting were educated in groups and were not routinely screened. Open access clinics offered x ray and clinical examination to all women in the study age group of 45 to 64. Women who presented for screening without prior BSE education were taught individually by clinic staff. Women taught by the two methods were surveyed by post and their BSE practice since education was compared. It was hypothesised that the women taught in clinics, who had been reassured of their breast normality, would practice BSE more regularly and correctly. Results did not confirm this hypothesis. Lower standards of practise and a higher level of anxiety at the time of survey were found in the group who presented at a free access clinic and had received individual teaching at the time of screening.
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