Breast Cancer Awareness, Knowledge and Beliefs among Libyan Women. Journal of Scientific Research and Reports,





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Hajer Elkout
Meluda R. El-Hamadi
Mukhtar Gusbi


Abstract Background: Breast cancer (BC) is the most frequent cancer of women. The high mortality in developing countries is associated with late detection, and lack of knowledge and adequate screening programmes. Aims: To determine breast cancer awareness, knowledge and beliefs among Libyan women. Study Design: A cross-sectional descriptive study. Place and Duration of Study: Between September and October 2016 among a sample of adult women in western Libya. Methods: 1091 woman aged between years were asked to fill a validated questionnaire to investigate their knowledge about the risk factors as well as their awareness and screening behaviours of BC. Results: The majority of women who participated in the study were aware of BC early warning signs and symptoms. Over 90% of the women were able to list at least one symptom of breast cancer correctly. The most frequent warning sign identified was breast lump (91.0%), followed by discharge from the nipples (80.6%). Also, 565 (52.7%) of those surveyed were aware that increasing age was associated with a higher incidence of breast cancer and 747 (68.3%) of the respondents identified positive family history as a risk factor. Moreover, 62% know how to perform self-examination (BSE), and only 59% ever performed BSE. The majority (92%) would seek medical advice if they discovered a mass in the breast whereas, about half of those (59%) would consult a male doctor. Conclusions: Women who participated in this study were fairly informed about BC risks and warning signs; the results appear to reflect growing awareness of women regarding BC screening methods. Health education message should be presented and delivered in a culturally-sensitive manner and tailored to provide simple and clear information and avoid false beliefs and misconceptions about the disease, its screening methods and management options.

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