Measuring knowledge and practice in relation to breast cancer screening in mothers in Pakistan

Sharmeen Amin, Zafeer Ahmed Yazdani, Ankush Jha, Deepika Sriram, Hinozia Merchant, Naveen Reddy Parva, Artur Mirzabekian, Joana Kendra Pascal, Sehrish Sikandar, Bryan E Xin Tan, Zhi Tian Chen, Aakash Kumar, Faris Baig, Muhammad Baseem Sheikh, Zia Imtiaz


Background: Breast cancer is a major health burden mainly in the developed countries but its rates are also increasing in the developing countries. With such increasing rates of breast cancer it is imperative that the general population is aware of its risk factors, early screening methods and the preventive measures that can be undertaken before its development.
Objective: To assess the awareness of breast-self-examination (BSE) & screening among the mothers belonging to different socioeconomic groups in Karachi, Pakistan. To assess the awareness of breast lump & its relation with breast cancer in mothers.
Methods: This is a cross sectional research study constituting on a sample size of 284 people. The data was collected using a self administered questionnaire which was designed after detailed literature review. The date was collected from all 5 districts of Karachi, Pakistan. The duration of data collection was from April 2013 to November 2013. The data was analyzed using spss 19 with a 95% confidence interval and a 5% margin of error. A p-value of .05 or less was considered significant.
Results: The results showed that most of the women (81%) have sufficient general knowledge about breast cancer and its outcomes but the awareness regarding the risk factors was limited. Only 38% were aware that old age is a risk factor, 34.9% knew that null parity is a risk factor while 57.7% believed that trauma to the breast, for example child hitting the breast, cause breast disease. The women were only partially aware of the screening methods available, only 53.2% of women knew how to self-examine their breast and 69% of them were not aware of the fact that mammography is the basic screening procedure. Results are similar for knowledge about signs and symptoms and only 46.8% were aware that bloody discharge and inward retraction of nipple may be due to breast cancer. Despite the limited current awareness about the breast diseases most women (82.4%) showed interest in learning more information about breast diseases and how might they be prevented.
Conclusions: The study concluded that though the mothers were aware of breast cancer they still require sufficient knowledge regarding its risks, methods of screening and means to prevent it. In accordance with this need more initiatives should be undertaken to spread more awareness regarding this through media or other useful sources. But increasing awareness alone cannot deliver the desired results and there is a parallel need to increase the facilities and to make them accessible for all. Steps should also be undertaken to educate the women about their misconceptions regarding breast cancer and to make them free from unnecessary barriers as many women do not seek clinical advice due to these barriers.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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