Knowledge, attitudes and practices of breast cancer screening among rural women in Bubaare Sub-County, Rubanda District
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Introduction: Breast cancer in women is a major public health burden and the most common cancer among women Worldwide. Though its incidence is greater in high income countries, in sharp contrast, mortality rates are greatest among the low-income countries. Early detection linked to appropriate treatment is the most effective strategy to improve survival. Knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding breast cancer are important determinants of health seeking behaviours, including screening and other preventive behaviours. Good knowledge among women would enable them embrace the preventive programs, support and encourage them to go for screening. Objectives: The objectives of the study were to establish the level of knowledge of rural women on breast cancer; and to determine their attitudes and practices regarding breast cancer screening. Methods: The cross-sectional community survey was conducted in Bubaare Sub-county, Rubanda District among 241 rural women, aged 20 years and above. Data was collected using quantitative methods with help of a structured questionnaire. Quantitative data was entered into Microsoft Excel 2010 and analyzed, using STATA Version 13.0 Statistical programs. Results: More than two thirds of women that are 235 (97.5%) had heard about breast cancer. However, the overall knowledge about breast cancer was low among all age groups. This concerned the cause, risk factors, signs and symptoms and screening methods. Regarding the attitudes, 208 (90.5%) were willing to be screened for breast cancer. However, 60% were not worried about the disease since they did not have history of cancer in their families and did not expect to suffer from it. As regards practice, 204 (84.7%) had never examined their breasts and did not know how to do it. In addition, 225 (93.4%) of the respondents had never gone to any health facility for breast cancer screening and 136 (56.4%) live in a distance of more than five (5) Kilometers to the health facility where breast cancer screening services are provided. Results from bivariate analysis: From socio-demographic factors, age of respondents was significantly associated with the level of knowledge on breast cancer for rural women (p = 0.030). Other significant factors were having heard about breast cancer (p = 0.027); information source about breast cancer (p = 0.013); respondents’ knowledge about risk factors of breast cancer (p = 0.000); knowledge about signs and symptoms of breast cancer (p = 0.000); methods of detecting breast cancer (p = 0.000); respondent’s perception about breast cancer (p = 0.000). No significant results were obtained from attitudes. About practices of respondents: Whether respondent was taught how to examine her breast (p = 0.000); and source of teaching for the respondent (p = 0.000). Conclusion and recommendations: Knowledge about breast cancer among rural women in Bubaare Sub-county was low, majority had negative attitude towards breast cancer screening though some were willing to be screened. The practice of screening is very poor among the rural women of Bubaare Sub-county. It is therefore recommended that more health education sessions be carried out in the community, focusing on the risk factors, signs and symptoms, prevention through screening and dissemination of information through media, community health teams, religious leaders and health workers respectively.
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