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Breast Cancer Awareness of Rural Women in Malaysia: is it the Same as in the Cities?

  • Norlaili, Abdul Aziz (Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • Fatihah, Mohd Amin (Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • Daliana, Nik Farid Nik (Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • Maznah, Dahlui (Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya)
  • Published : 2013.12.31

Abstract

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women globally. This study was conducted to compare the awareness of breast cancer and the practice of breast self-examination (BSE), clinical breast examination (CBE) and mammography screening among rural females in Pahang and Perak. A cross-sectional study was carried out in five selected rural districts of Pahang and Perak. Two hundred and fifty households were randomly selected and interviewed face to face using a semi-structured questionnaire. The majority of residents from both states were Malay, aged between 50 and 60 years and had a secondary level of education. Malay women aged 40-49 years and women with a higher level of education were significantly more aware of breast cancer (p<0.05). About half of these women practiced BSE (60.7%) and CBE (56.1%), and 7% had underwent mammography screening. The results of this study suggest that women in Pahang and Perak have good awareness of breast cancer and that more than half practice BSE and CBE. The women's level of education appears to contribute to their level of knowledge and health behaviour. However, more effort is needed to encourage all women in rural areas to acquire further knowledge on breast cancer.

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