Awareness and Practice of Breast Self Examination Among Malaysian Women with Breast Cancer


Breast self-examination (BSE) is a self-generated, non-invasive and non-irradiative method of breast cancerdetection. This paper documents Malaysian women’s awareness and practice of regular BSE as a potent breastcancer detection tool. A pre-test post-test questionnaire survey on women diagnosed with breast cancer (n=66)was conducted. Descriptive statistics and Chi-square tests were performed to correlate demographic variables,knowledge and regular practice of BSE. Findings showed that 80% of the breast cancer survivors self-detectedthe breast lumps, despite a high 85% of these women reporting they were never taught about BSE. More than70% of the women maintained that lack of knowledge/skill on the proper practice of BSE was the key barrierto a more regular BSE practice. After an educational intervention on BSE and breast awareness, we found anincrease report from 17% (at pre-test) to 67% (at post-test) of self reported monthly BSE practices. Provisionof self-management education incorporating BSE, a readily available cheap method, should be introduced atprimary care and breast clinics. This strategy promotes women’s self-efficacy which contributes towards cancercontrol agenda in less resource available countries around Asia Pacific. Longer follow up may be crucial toexamine the adherence to positive BSE behaviour.