Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Lebanese Women towards Breast Cancer, Breast Self-Examination and Mammography

Monday, 9 November 2015

Myrna Abi Abdallah Doumit, PhD, MPH, BSN, RN
Lebanese American University, Alice Ramex Chagoury School of Nursing, Byblos, Lebanon
Mary Arevian, BSN, MPH, RN,
Community Health Nursing Department, American University of Beirut, Hariri School of Nursing, Beirut, Lebanon
Souha Fares, PhD
SCHOOL OF NURSING, American University of Beirut, School of Nursing, BEIRUT, Lebanon

Background: Breast cancer is a major global health problem. It is the most frequent malignancy that causes deaths and cancer related morbidity in women. A comparable epidemiological profile applies to Lebanon where breast cancer is the most widespread type of cancer among Lebanese women. There is universal consensus that early detection of breast cancer offers the greatest chance of long-term survival.

 Purpose: Our purpose was to assess the knowledge, practices and attitudes of Lebanese women about breast self-examination( BSE), Clinical breast examination (CBE) mammography and breast cancer and  to identify potential barriers using  Champion’s’ Health Belief Model Scales.

Method: Descriptive, cross sectional correlational study. We collected a national representative sample of 1200 Lebanese women who were chosen from the general Lebanese population using a proportional sampling technique. The mean  age of the women was 53.59 years.  Data collection was performed through a door-to-door survey using an interviewer- administered questionnaire using the Kish Grid approach. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Statistics (SPSS).

 Results showed that 83% of the women surveyed had heard of breast self-examination (BSE). But only 63.7% of those who heard of BSE have ever done BSE.  When asked how many times during the past did you examine your breasts only 7.5 % had the correct answer. When asked about the clinical breast cancer exam 71.1% said that they know about it but only 48.9 % are planning to do it and 51.1% have ever done it. 72.3% feel good about doing the mammography. Mean belief scores follow: susceptibility of getting breast cancer (2.00);  Seriousness of the disease ( 2.82); Barriers to BSE (1.88);  confidence in doing BSE ( 3.06); health motivation (3.61); benefits and barriers to mammography (3.86 & 2.52 respectively)

 Conclusion: Despite the low perceived barriers to BSE and Mammography and the high health motivation and confidence in doing BSE Lebanese women are not performing BSE regularly and following the right method.   

Implications for practice: The results of this study will be used to develop culturally fit interventions to improve the responsiveness of Lebanese women to the breast cancer annual national screening campaign by determining the perceived barriers for BSE, CBE and mammography and by planning a culturally appropriate strategic approach to enhance women’s compliance with screening measures.