KNOWLEDGE ATTITUDE AND PRACTICE ABOUT BREAST CANCER AMONG CIVIL SERVANTS IN BENIN CITY, NIGERIA
Background: Breast cancer is often associated with severe morbidity and mortality especially when the patients present late. A major reason why patients present late is the lack of awareness about breast
cancer, its complications and the management.
Methods: The study was carried out using a structured questionnaire. A total of 400 female civil
servants were enlisted in the study, but only 385 respondents completed and returned the forms.
Results: Two hundred and seventy seven (72.0%) respondents had tertiary level of education. Sixty six (17.1%) respondents were in the 30-34-year age group. Three hundred and twelve (81.0%) respondents knew correctly that breast lump is usually the first symptom of presentation of breast cancer. One hundred and forty four (37.5%) respondents knew that a positive family history of breast cancer is a risk
factor, while two hundred and seventy four (71.2%) respondents answered that cancer of one breast in a woman increases her chances of having cancer of the other breast. Three hundred and twenty one (83.4%) respondents knew that breast cancer could spread from one breast to the other and two hundred and thirty (59.7%) knew that breast cancer could spread to other parts of the body. One hundred and eighty three (47.5%) respondents would visit the hospital as the first reaction if they were
to detect a breast lump, while twenty three (6.0%) respondents would ignore the lump. While three hundred and twenty seven (85.0%) respondents have heard of breast self- examination, only one
hundred (26.0%) could correctly describe the procedure of breast self -examination. While one hundred and thirty five (35.0%) respondents have heard of mammography, only twenty seven (7%) respondents
go for yearly mammography screening. Three hundred and seventy two (96.6%) respondents know that mastectomy is done as part of the management of breast cancer, but only forty nine (12.7%)
respondents have heard about conservative surgery.
Conclusion: The level of awareness about breast cancer among civil servants in Benin City is low. There is the need to organize series of health education programs to enlighten the women about breast cancer. This can be done by government agencies or the non-governmental organizations. If properly
executed, it may influence the attitude of women in Benin City about breast diseases and encourage early presentation to the hospital