OHSU unique in broadbased teaching of new breast exam recommendations

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A new report published by the American Cancer Society recommends training health care providers in a standardized version of clinical breast exam to find palpable cancers. The Breast Health Education Program (BHEP) of the OHSU Cancer Institute is the nation's only academic program that currently offers training matching this recommendation at all levels of medical education.

"This recommendation represents national recognition that our program is on the forefront of medical education and early detection," said Donald Austin, M.D., director of the BHEP, associate director for cancer control and prevention in the OHSU Cancer Institute, and professor of public health and preventive medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine.

A committee of nationally recognized experts convened by the American Cancer Society in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this and other recommendations in a report published in the November/December 2004 issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The recommendations could help standardize the practice of clinical breast exam and lead to better evidence to show the effectiveness of clinical breast exam in the early detection of breast cancer.

"It is not possible to find breast cancer at its earliest stages the way most clinicians perform clinical breast exams," said Elizabeth Steiner, M.D., associate director of the BHEP and research assistant professor of family medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine. "Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among American women and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, yet most physicians report they have received little if any instruction on how to conduct a complete breast exam."

Clinical breast examination, or CBE, is an examination of the breasts by a health care professional to find palpable cancers early, when there are more treatment options and there may be a bett

Contact: Rachel MacKnight
Oregon Health & Science University

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