Primary Health Care Nurses Knowledge, Practice and Client Teaching of Early Detection Measures of Breast Cancer

Monday, July 11, 2011

O. Abimbola Oluwatosin, RN, RM, BSc, MSc, PhD, (Nursing)
Department of Nursing, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Learning Objective 1: identify the challenges of of early detection of breast cancer in a developing country

Learning Objective 2: to evaluate the challenges of nursing practice in a developing country.


The predominant feature of late presentation of breast cancer had been reported over three decades in Nigeria.  Absence of an established national screening program and low level of awareness of early detection measures (EDM) of breast cancer  may account for the late presentation.  This problem was the thrust for the study; "Primary health care nurses’ knowledge, practice and client teaching of EDM of breast cancer". It has been suggested that women given instruction about breast self examination (BSE) and breast awareness by health care professionals demonstrated higher knowledge and confidence and tended to practise BSE more than those who received information from other sources.


This is a descriptive study based on Orem’s self care theory.  Using stratified random technique, sample size of 110 nurses representing 67% of total population of nurses (181) were selected for the study. A structured questionnaire that explored the biodata of participants, as well as knowledge, practice and client teaching of BSE and CBE was used for data collection.  Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethical Committee of Oyo State Ministry of Health.


The mean age (SD) of participants was 44.2(87.3%). Most of the participants had 13-24 years of experience. Only 23 (20.9%) of the participants considered painless lump as an early sign of breast cancer while 44 (40%) considered pain as an early sign. The most acknowledged EDM by participants was BSE (81.8%) then CBE (40%) and mammogram (30%). Only eight (7.9%) participants have ever had mammography.  Data indicated that there was no formal client teaching in the various clinics and very few had conducted CBE.


It is vital that attention should be given to enhance breast cancer EDM among the PHC nurses to be able to enhance health deviation self care of the clients.