Pan African Medical Journal

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Knowledge, attitude and practice of prophylactic mastectomy among patients and relations attending a surgical outpatient clinic

Adetunji Saliu Oguntola, Peter Babatunde Olaitan, Olutayo Omotoso, Ganiyu Oyediran Oseni


Introduction: Prophylactic mastectomy (PM) is uncommon in our practice. This study documents the knowledge and attitude of patients and relation to prophylactic mastectomy. Methods: Adults attending surgical outpatient unit were interviewed. Biodata, awareness of breast cancer, and attitude towards prophylactic mastectomy were inquired about and documented. Results: Two hundred and forty eight (99 men and 149 women) were involved. Most, 75.6%, were age bracket 20-29years and 77.2% had tertiary education. Only 26 (10.4%) of the respondents had previous history of breast diseases. 96.4% were aware of cancer of the breast while 113 (45.2%) of them were aware that breast cancer gene can be inherited from parents and 60 (24.2%) believe cancer of the breast can affect women with strong positive family history. Only 64 (25.6%) of them would agree to prophylactic mastectomy if found necessary. Reasons given for possible refusal to consent to PM include effect on beauty, (40%), psychological effect, (22.8%), non-curing of disease, (18%), possible surgical complications, (7.2%), and financial cost, (1.2%). Presence of unilateral breast cancer and high risk status constituted about 71% of suggested possible indications for PM while presence of any breast disease was suggested by only 7.3% of respondents. The profession or education of respondents did not have significance on their acceptance or rejection of PM. Conclusion: Awareness of prophylactic mastectomy is low among patients in this study. Education about breast cancer and methods of prevention need to be improved.

Pan African Medical Journal 2012; 13:20

AJOL African Journals Online