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Understanding Breast Cancer Screening Practices in Taiwan: a Country with Universal Health Care

  • Wu, Tsu-Yin (Healthy Asians Americans Project, Eastern Michigan, University of Michigan) ;
  • Chung, Scott (College of Literature, Science and Arts, University of Michigan) ;
  • Yeh, Ming-Chen (School of Nursing, Huan Kuang University) ;
  • Chang, Shu-Chen (Department of Nursing, Chung-Hua Christian University) ;
  • Hsieh, Hsing-Fang (School of Public Health, University of Michigan) ;
  • Ha, Soo Ji (College of Literature, Science and Arts, University of Michigan)
  • Published : 2012.09.30

Abstract

While the incidence of breast cancer (BC) has been relatively low in Asian countries, it has been rising rapidly in Taiwan. Within the last decade, it has replaced cervical cancer as the most diagnosed cancer site for women. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of studies reporting the attitudes and practices of breast cancer screening among Chinese women. The aim of this study is to assess Taiwanese women's knowledge of and attitudes toward BC screening and to identify potential factors that may influence screening behavior. The study population consisted of a sample of 434 Taiwanese women aged 40 and older. Despite access to universal health care for Taiwanese women and the fact that a majority of the women had heard of the breast cancer screening (mammogram, clinical breast exams, etc.), the actual utilization of these screening modalities was relatively low. In the current study, the majority of women had never had mammograms or ultrasound in the past 5 years. The number one most reported barriers were "no time," "forgetfulness," "too cumbersome," and "laziness," followed by the perception of no need to get screened. In addition, the results revealed several areas of misconceptions or incorrect information perceived by study participants. Based on the results from the regression analysis, significant predictors of obtaining repeated screening modalities included age, coverage for screening, barriers, self-efficacy, intention, family/friends diagnosed with breast cancer. The findings from the current study provide the potential to build evidence-based programs to effectively plan and implement policies in order to raise awareness in breast cancer and promote BC screening in order to optimize health outcomes for women affected by this disease.

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