Breast Cancer Awareness among Middle Class Urban Women - a Community-Based Study from Mumbai, India

  • Gadgil, Anita (Department of Surgery, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) ;
  • Sauvaget, Catherine (Screening Group, Early Detection and Prevention Section, International Agency for Research in Cancer) ;
  • Roy, Nobhojit (Department of Surgery, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) ;
  • Frie, Kirstin Grosse (Screening Group, Early Detection and Prevention Section, International Agency for Research in Cancer) ;
  • Chakraborty, Anuradha (Community Dispensaries, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) ;
  • Lucas, Eric (Screening Group, Early Detection and Prevention Section, International Agency for Research in Cancer) ;
  • Bantwal, Kanchan (Community Dispensaries, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) ;
  • Haldar, Indrani (Community Dispensaries, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) ;
  • Sankaranarayanan, Rengaswamy (Screening Group, Early Detection and Prevention Section, International Agency for Research in Cancer)
  • Published : 2015.10.06


Targeting breast cancer awareness along with comprehensive cancer care is appropriate in low and middle income countries like India, where there are no organized and affordable screening services. It is essential to identify the existing awareness about breast cancer in the community prior to launching an organized effort. This study assessed the existing awareness about breast cancer amongst women and their health seeking practices in an urban community in Mumbai, India. A postal survey was undertaken with low or no cost options for returning the completed questionnaires. The majority of the women were aware about cancer but awareness about symptoms and signs was poor. Women were willing to accept more information about cancer and those with higher awareness scores were more likely to seek medical help. They were also more likely to have undergone breast examination in the past and less likely to use alternative medicines. High income was associated with better awareness but this did not translate into better health seeking behaviour. Organized programmes giving detailed information about breast cancer and its symptoms are needed and women from all income categories need to be encouraged for positive change towards health seeking. Further detailed studies regarding barriers to health seeking in India are necessary.


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