The researchers recruited a total of 553 physician attendees from three annual clinical meetings: the American Society of Breast Surgeons (136 doctors), the American Academy of Family Physicians (236 doctors), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (181 doctors). The participants used the Pugh devices specifically developed to teach breast examination techniques. There were four models.

  • Model A had a soft, superficial mass measuring 2 cm by 2 cm.
  • Model B was the same as model A, except the mass was smaller (2 cm by 1 cm).
  • Model C had a hard, 2-cm mass located near the chest wall.
  • Model D was the same as model C, except the mass was molded from a soft silicone derivative.

The videos, combined with sensor-map recordings, show successful and unsuccessful techniques for clinical breast examinations. The least successful technique was associated with a light palpation; that technique placed the physicians at significant risk for missing deep-tissue lesions near the chest wall.

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This study underscores the potential that sensor technology has for teaching proper technique and thereby extending the lives of patients who might otherwise be lost to breast cancer.

Bette Weinstein Kaplan is a medical writer based in Tenafly, New Jersey. 


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