A population based survey on knowledge and awareness of breast cancer in the suburban females of Sungai Petani, Kedah, Malaysia

Background: Globally breast cancer is one of the most common cancers and a major public health challenge to women health. Malaysia is also one of the Asian nations that is facing the dilemma breast cancer with an Age Standardised Rate (ASR) of female breast cancer among Malaysian women was 47.4 per 100,000 populations.

Objectives: To evaluate the knowledge and awareness of Breast Cancer among the women of different age groups and various races in the sub-urban town of Sungai Petani, Malaysia

Material and Methods: A questionnaire based cross-sectional study was conducted from 9th February to 29th March The survey of 2010. Household survey was conducted in the rural areas of Sungai Petani using a pre-validated questionnaire. The time retest reliability scale was applied and the internal consistency of the study tool was estimated on the basis of Cronbach's Alpha (α = 0.68). For the purpose of data analysis, the Statistical package for Social Sciences (SPSS13.0®) was used. Chi-square test was applied analyse the categorical data. One- way ANOVA applied to make Inferences about Population Means between groups.

Results: A total of n=320 women from different age groups and varying ethnicities from Sungai Petani were interviewed. Comparatively a higher participation was seen from the young 18-25 years. It is seen that Chinese female respondents comparatively have a better general knowledge towards breast cancer with mean score of 2.11±1.04. However, Malay were found to have a better knowledge towards the risk factors (4.34 ±3.07) and Indians were the best in terms of knowledge towards symptoms and screening of breast cancer (7.17±2.32). Overall, Indians were found to have the highest knowledge score among all. Majority agreed that a woman can enjoy a good quality life after receiving treatment for breast cancer and treatment for breast cancer is more helpful to young patients.

Conclusion: Indians women were found to have a comparatively better knowledge toward the breast cancer. However, education level was found to be the main factor affecting the knowledge level of the respondents.

Author(s): Mirza Rafi Baig , Vikneswari Subramaniam , Annaliza Anusha Chandrasegar , Tahir Mehmood Khan

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