Self-detection of a breast mass in adolescent females

Karen Hein, Ralph Dell, Michael I. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The frequency of self-discovered breast masses in adolescent females has not previously been described. The histologic diagnosis rather than the means of detection has been the focus of previous surveys. Seven characteristics of 95 patients admitted from 1968-1979 for the evaluation of a breast mass were delineated. The mean age at hospitalization was 15.9 years (range 12-20). The delay from detection to hospitalization was 7.2 months (range 0.5-72). In 77 cases the mass was detected by the patient; 11 were found during a physician examination, 4 by a family member, and 3 by an unrecorded source. Diagnoses were fibroadenoma (71), abscess (11), cyst (9), lipoma (2), and cystosarcoma phyllodes (2). The median length of the masses was 2.6 cm, width 2.3 cm, with a median mass area (diameter × length) of 6 cm2. When patients were compared for age, delay in hospitalization, means of detection, family history, and mass size, the girls with abscesses were younger and had a shorter time delay before hospitalization. Self-discovery was the means of detection in 77 of 95 (81%). The means of detection is an important factor to consider in weighing the merits of teaching breast self-examination procedures to adolescent females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-17
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1982


  • Adolescence
  • Breast self-examination
  • Tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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