Light breast palpation may miss tumours: study

Despite doing the breast examinations for many years, when a group of doctors were asked to perform the exam on a simulated model, US researchers found that many missed finding masses located deep inside the breast, near the chest wall, because they weren’t pressing hard enough.

Some 553 practising physicians, including GPs, breast surgeons, and obstetricians and gynaecologists, were asked to perform a simulated clinical breast exam on a sensor-enabled breast model under conditions that mimic an office visit for a symptomatic patient.

Researchers found that physicians who palpated fewer than 10 newtons were able to find two superficial masses on the breast model but missed the two deeper ones.

However, the physicians who increased the amount of palpation pressure improved the probability that they would identify the deeper lesions.

According to the authors, the study suggests that the optimal palpable force for detecting the deeper