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Qualitative Assessment of Breast Cancer Early Detection Services Provided through Well Woman Clinics in the District of Gampaha in Sri Lanka

  • Published : 2013.12.31

Abstract

Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among women in Sri Lanka. Early detection can lead to reduction in morbidity and mortality. The objective here was to identify perceptions of public health midwives (PHMs) on the importance of early detection of breast cancer and deficiencies of and suggestions on improving existing breast cancer early detection services provided through Well Woman Clinics. Materials and Methods: A qualitative study using four focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted among 38 PHMs in the Gampaha district in Sri Lanka and the meetings were audio-recorded, transcribed and analyzed using constant comparison and identifying themes and categories. Results: All the PHMs had a firm realization on the need of breast cancer early detection. The four FGDs among PHMs revealed non-availability of guidelines, inadequacy of training, lack of skills and material to provide health education, inability to provide privacy during clinical examination, shortage of stationery, lack of community awareness and motivation. The suggestions for the improvements of the programme identified in FGDs were capacity building of PHMs, making availability of guidelines, rescheduling clinics, improving the supervision, strengthening the monitoring, improving coordination between clinical and preventive sectors, and improving community awareness. Conclusions: Results of the FGDs can provide useful information on components to be improved in breast cancer early detection services. Study recommendations were training programmes at basic and post basic levels on a regular basis and supervision for the sustainance of the breast cancer early detection program.

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