Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Health Services


Raymond Thron


Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States. Several factors have been identified that interfere with women's breast cancer screening practices, including lack of knowledge and confidence in the breast self-examination (BSE) technique, and lack of information provided by health care provider. One of the reasons nurses do not teach breast cancer detection could be the little emphasis given to breast cancer examination in nursing schools. The BSE is a measure of significant value in detecting cancer of the breast. However, less than half of the women in the United States are participating in breast cancer screening. The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the relationship between the freshman and senior nursing students' breast cancer knowledge (BCK) and breast self-examination technique confidence (BSE_TC). An online survey was administered to measure the students' BCK and their BSE_TC. The social cognitive theory guided this study. A sample 100 nursing students (54 senior and 46 freshman) were included for hypothesis testing. The study results indicate that senior nursing students had higher mean scores on the BCK and BSE_TC, as would be expected. However, senior nursing students' BCK_BSE_TC scores were also very low. This is a concern for the future of breast cancer detection. This study provides data showing breast cancer screening concepts are unclear to freshman students, and remain unclear with senior students. Nursing educational curricula in breast cancer screening should be revised to affect improvements in nurses' role in advising and educating patients.