Breast Cancer And Self Breast Examination Awareness Amongst Pakistani Female Medical Students and Hospital Employees: Assessing Shortcomings in Health Literacy
Keywords:Breast cancer, Health literacy, Health education, Breast self examination, Pakistan
Objective: To assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to breast cancer and breast cancer screening among female medical students, healthcare workers, and hospital employees.
Methodology: This cross-sectional study was conducted from September 1, 2021, to October 30, 2021. A questionnaire on breast cancer awareness and self-breast examination was distributed to female medical students across all five years at Fatimah Jinnah Medical University, Lahore, and to female hospital employees at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Lahore. A total of 404 women participated and were included in the study.
Results: Out of the respondents, 71.2% were medical students, and 26.7% were doctors. Approximately 24% reported a family history of breast cancer. Media was identified as the primary source of information on breast cancer by 79.2% of women. Only 64.9% of respondents practiced self-breast examination, with merely 23.8% performing it monthly. Furthermore, only 37.1% correctly identified all the essential steps for conducting a breast self-examination.
Conclusion: While the knowledge of breast cancer is satisfactory among healthcare workers and hospital employees, there is room for improvement in attitudes and practices related to early detection and screening. Initiatives should be undertaken by medical undergraduate curriculum coordinators to incorporate breast self-examination, clinical breast examination, and screening guidelines in both pre-clinical and clinical years of medical education. Additionally, information dissemination programs should be implemented in hospitals for all employees.
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