Evaluation of breast cancer awareness among female university students in Malaysia
Keywords:Breast Neoplasms, Awareness, Breast Self-Examination, Malaysia
Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among women of all ethnic and age groups in Malaysia.
Objective: The objectives of this study were to evaluate the knowledge of breast cancer risk factors, symptoms and methods of screening among female university students and their perception towards the disease treatment outcomes.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted from February to March 2008 at Universiti Sains Malaysia. Two hundred participants from 10 randomly selected faculties were interviewed face to face by a trained pharmacist using a validated questionnaire. In addition to their demographic characteristics, participants were required to answer 22 questions concerning knowledge of breast cancer and five questions related to their perception of breast cancer management and treatment outcomes. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 15.
Results: The mean age of the respondents was 26.7 (SD=1.9) years. The results showed that the vast majority of the female university students had inadequate knowledge of breast cancer. The mean total knowledge score of the students was 60.7%. Indian students had significantly less knowledge of breast cancer compared to their Chinese and Malay counterparts (p<0.05). However, more than two third of the students were aware of breast self examination (BSE) and clinical breast examination (CBE) recommendations. Furthermore, the students had positive perceptions towards the treatment outcomes of breast cancer.
Conclusion: This study has highlighted the need of a breast cancer awareness campaign, which should also stress the importance of early detection and reporting of breast cancer.
2. Hisham AN, Yip CH. Spectrum of breast cancer in Malaysian women. World J. Surg. 2003; 27:921-923.
3. National Cancer registry. Second report on cancer incidence in Malaysia 2003; Available at www.radiologymalaysia.org/Archive/NCR/2ndNCR.pdf (Accessed 2007-09-15).
4. Richards MA, Smith P, Ramirez AJ, Fentiman IS, Rubens RD. The influence on survival of delay in the presentation and treatment of symptomatic breast cancer. Br J Cancer. 1999;79:858-864.
5. Rossi S, Cinini C, Di Pietro C, Lombardi CP, Crucitti A, Bellantone R, Crucitti F. Diagnostic delay in breast cancer: correlation with disease stage and prognosis. Tumori. 1990;76:559-562.
6. Richards MA, Westcombe AM, Love SB, Littlejohns P, Ramirez AJ. Influence of delay on survival in patients with breast cancer: a systematic review. Lancet. 1999;353:1119-1126.
7. Hisham AN, Yip CH. Overview of breast cancer in Malaysian women: A problem with late diagnosis. Asian J Surg. 2004;27:130-133.
8. Rashidi A, Rajaram SS. Middle Eastern Asian Islamic women and breast self-examination. Needs assessment. Cancer Nurs. 2000;23:64-70.
9. Rajaram SS, Rashidi A. Asian-Islamic women and breast cancer screening: a socio-cultural analysis. Women Health. 1999;28:45-48.
10. Odusanya OO, Tayo OO. Breast cancer knowledge, attitudes and practice among nurses in Lagos, Nigeria. Acta Oncol. 2001;40:844-848.
11. Department of Statistics. Malaysia Year Book of Statistics 2007. Kuala Lumpur: Department of Statistics Malaysia, 2007.
12. Grunfeld EA, Ramirez AJ, Hunter MS, Richards MA. Women's knowledge and beliefs regarding breast cancer. Br J Cancer. 2002;86:1373-1378.
13. Usmani K, Khanum A, Afzal H, Ahmad N. Breast cancer in Pakistani women. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 1996;15:251-253.
14. Harirchi I, Ebrahimi M, Zamani N, Jarvandi S, Montazeri A. Breast cancer in Iran: a review of 903 case records. Public Health. 2000;114:143-145.
15. Okobia MN, Bunker CH, Okonofua FE, Osime U: Knowledge, attitude and practice of Nigerian women towards breast cancer: A cross-sectional study. World J Surg Oncol.. 2006; 4(11):1477-7819.
16. Peto R, Boreham J, Clarke M, Davies C, Beral V. UK and USA breast cancer deaths down 25% at ages 20 – 69. Lancet. 2000;355:1822.
17. Ramirez AJ, Westcombe AM, Burgess CC, Sutton S, Johns LP, Richards MA. Factors predicting delayed presentation of symptomatic breast cancer: a systematic review. Lancet.1999;353:1127-1131.
18. Breslow RA, Sorkin JD, Frey CM, Kessler LG. American’s knowledge of cancer risk and survival. Prev Med. 1997;26:170-177.
19. Paul C, Barratt A, Redman S, Cockburn J, Lowe J. Knowledge and perceptions about breast cancer incidence, fatality and risk among Australian women. Aust NZ J Public Health. 1999;23:396-400.
20. Ford G, Taylor R. The elderly as under consulters: a critical reappraisal. J R Coll Gen Pract. 1985;35:244-247.
21. Chee HL, Rashidah S, K Shamsuddin Intan O. Factors related to the practice of breast self examination (BSE) and Pap smear screening among Malaysian women workers in selected electronics factories. BMC Women's Health 2003;3:3.
22. Dbameharha YA. Knowledge about breast cancer and mammography in breast cancer screening among women awaiting mammography. Turk J Med Sci. 2005;35:35-42.
23. Baxter N; Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. Preventive health care, 2001 update: should women be routinely taught breast self-examination to screen for breast cancer? CMAJ. 2001;164(13):1837-1846.
24. Thomas DB, Gao DL, Ray RM, Wang WW, Allison CJ, Chen FL, Porter P, Hu YW, Zhao GL, Pan LD, Li W, Wu C, Coriaty Z, Evans I, Lin MG, Stalsberg H, Self SG. Randomized trial of breast self-examination in Shanghai: final results. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002;94(19):1445-1457.
25. Larkin M. Breast self-examination does more harm than good, says task force. Lancet. 2001;357:2109.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 0 Pharmacy Practice
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 Unported License.