Evaluation of Breast Cancer Awareness among Women Presenting with Newly Diagnosed Breast Disease at Universitas Hospital (Bloemfontein, South Africa)
Background: This study aimed at assessing breast cancer awareness among women presenting with newly diagnosed breast disease at Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The breast cancer awareness of the women, in turn, was related to their screening practices and the stage of breast cancer at presentation. Recommendations to address the clinical implications of the findings of this study were then suggested. Methods: Reports of data on the number of breast cancer awareness campaigns held and the number of people reached during the period April to June 2006 were acquired from the main campaign organiser, CANSA. Data were also obtained by means of interviewer-administered structured questionnaires, from consenting women (n = 56) presenting with newly diagnosed breast disease at Universitas Hospital during the period May 2006 to April 2007. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of the Free State. Results: Despite aggressive nationwide public education on breast cancer and on the benefits of screening by CANSA breast cancer awareness, the examination and screening practices of women presenting with newly diagnosed breast disease at the Universitas Hospital were generally low. Most of the women interviewed presented with advanced breast cancer (stage 2 and 3), and reported that their healthcare professionals never initiated clinical breast examinations or mammograms. Conclusion: This study has revealed low breast cancer awareness among women presenting with newly diagnosed breast disease at the Universitas Hospital, and hence low rates of self- and clinical examinations of the breast and low mammographic screening rates. This may be attributed to a general lack of awareness of the rising incidence of breast cancer in the Free State among both the public and healthcare professionals.
South African Journal of Family Practice Vol. 50 (4) 2008: pp. 69a-69c