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Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 40  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 175-181

Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about breast cancer and barriers to breast self-examination among sikkimese women

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences, Gangtok, Sikkim, India

Correspondence Address:
Leima Chanu Shakti Yambem
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences, 5th Mile, Tadong, Gangtok, Sikkim
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmpo.ijmpo_162_17

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Objectives: The objectives of this study are to assess women's awareness on breast cancer; and their awareness, attitudes, and barriers to practice of breast self-examination (BSE). Methodology: This cross-sectional study was conducted from May 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015, involving 302 women between 18 and 65 years of age attending the Outpatient Department of Central Referral Hospital, Gangtok. Face-to-face semi-structured questionnaire-based interview was conducted among the participant women, after taking their written consent. Results: Three-fourths of the participants were aware of breast cancer. Eighty percent of the women who had heard about breast cancer were not aware of its risk factors. Forty-six percent of the participants were aware of BSE. Most common source of knowledge was from health professionals. Of the 138 women who were aware of BSE, 41.3% ever practiced BSE. Majority had started BSE between 21 and 45 years of age. Thirty-seven percent of the participants practiced BSE once in a year. Working women and students were found to be twice more likely to practice BSE compared to homemakers. Similarly, women belonging to lower socioeconomic status were 70% less likely to practice BSE than women of affluent class. Conclusions: Knowledge of the breast cancer and BSE practices is poor among indexed Sikkimese reproductive women attending tertiary hospital of Sikkim. There is an urgent need for information on the airwaves and in print, and for education at health centers on warning symptoms of breast cancer and various methods of screening for breast cancer including BSE.

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