Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, behaviour and breast cancer screening practices in Ghana, West Africa

  • SY Opoku
  • M Benwell
  • J Yarney
Keywords: Breast cancer, screening, mammography, Knowledge, attitude, belief, Ghana, Africa

Abstract

Background: Late presentation has been observed as the hallmark of breast cancer in Ghanaian women where over 60% of patients report with either stage 3 or 4 of the disease. This cross-sectional study aimed at exploring breast cancer related knowledge and practices in order to develop an appropriate socio-economic and cultural specific model to improve breast cancer care in Ghana.
Methods: The study which was conducted in Accra and Sunyani in Ghana used both quantitative and qualitative methods and employed the theory of planned behavior as a communication and educational model. Information was collected from 474 women using questionnaires. In addition semi-structured interviews were conducted on 10 breast cancer patients; 10 breast clinic attendants; 3 Oncology Consultants and 2 herbalists.
Results: Generally, the respondents displayed knowledge deficit about the disease. However, higher levels of education was associated with better appreciation of the disease (rs =0.316, N= 465, p < 0.001). The respondents’ attitudes include fear of the disease which was linked to death in most cases; denial and guilt; as well as supernatural attributes. The self-reported breast cancer screening rate (BSE 32%, CBE 12% and mammogram 2%) was poor, however, higher educational of the respondents was very significant for breast cancer screening practices.
Conclusion: The study found that routine mammography screening is not feasible in Ghana at the moment which therefore requires a different approach.
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eISSN: 1937-8688