Breast Cancer Knowledge and Screening Behaviors Among Bangladeshi Women
Breast cancer is the major cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide. It is considered as one of the most prevalent cancers among women in Bangladesh. Most patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease due to lack of awareness which highlights the importance of early detection. The present study was aimed at investigating levels of breast cancer awareness, risk factor prevalence and practices towards early detection strategies among female populations of Bangladesh. After taking verbal consents, 1051 females of age ≥20 years and of various occupations were interviewed using a pre-tested questionnaire. Among them, three-forth (77.74%) were found to know about breast cancer and their main source of information was electronic media (74.54%). Most of them could identify at least one sign and symptom (73.93%) and one reason of breast cancer (71.55%). About 34.82% and 52.52% were aware of diagnosis and treatment, respectively although 34.16% and 52.14% correctly identified at least one option for each. Only 13.13% were found to perform regular breast self-examination or BSE while 21.69% mentioned that they knew the procedure. Major risk factors prevailing among the respondents were overweight and obesity (35.39%), early menarche (21.03%) and contact with radiation to chest or face (15.89%). Breast cancer knowledge was significantly (p<0.05) related to educational levels and positive family history. Practice of BSE was also significantly associated with age, education levels and perception of importance about early screening. Thus, the results of this study reflect the need for educating Bangladeshi women about breast cancer to improve their knowledge level and to increase their practice of early screening strategies.
Keywords: Bangladesh, Breast cancer, Breast self-examination, Knowledge, Practice.