Knowledge and awareness of breast cancer among rural women in Umuowa Orlu Local Government Area Imo State, South East, Nigeria
Background: Many women with breast cancer present at the health institutions with advanced multiple nodal involvements have poor prognostic outcome. Knowledge and awareness of breast cancer may promote health-seeking behavior, thus early diagnosis and increased survival rate of breast cancer cases. The objective of this study was to assess the level of knowledge and awareness of women on breast self-examination (BSE) in Umuowa, which would guide future intervention program on breast cancer prevention and control in the community.
Method: Descriptive survey design with the aid of a questionnaire served as an interview schedule for the study on 349 Women in Umuoawa, Orlu Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State. Descriptive and inferential analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences.
Results: The main outcome measure was the level of awareness on breast cancer. With a Pearson’s correlation coefficient (R) of 0.569 and a Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient (r) of 0.600 and a P value of 0.000 < 0.05, a correlation between educational attainment and BSE awareness was established. The correlation coefficient being positive, the result showed that with increase in educational attainment, the awareness of BSE increased and vice versa. Thus, there was a positive relationship between educational attainment and the awareness of BSE. One hundred and four (29.8%) respondents showed that breast cancer is an illness caused by ancestral forces. Their knowledge of the risks factors for breast cancer was also low. Their major source of information on breast cancer was through health care providers followed by friends/relatives.
Conclusion: There is a need to scale up health education programs to remove myths regarding breast cancer and improve health-seeking behavior among the rural women.
Keywords: Awareness, breast cancer, screening, rural women, health education