Body Esteem and Self-examination in British Men and Women

Gayle Brewer, Anne M. Dewhurst


Background: Breast and testicular cancers affect a substantial and increasing proportion of the global population. Self-examination encourages early detection and treatment of these cancers, which positively impacts on patient quality of life and survival.

Methods: The present study investigated the role of body esteem in breast and testicular self-examination. Men (N = 60) and women (N = 90) recruited from a British University completed the body esteem scale and either the testicular self-examination or breast self-examination questionnaire.

Results: Logistic regression models revealed that body esteem predicted women’s intention to engage in breast self-examination. Women with higher levels of sexual attractiveness and those with lower levels of weight concern were more likely to report that they would regularly self-examine in the future. Body esteem did not however, distinguish between those women that did or did not currently self-examine or predict men’s current or intended testicular self-examination.

Conclusion: The findings have implications for the promotion of self-examination and highlight an emerging area of preventive health research.

Keywords: Body image, breast cancer, health behavior, self-examination, testicular cancer

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