Exploration of Barriers to Breast-Self Examination among Urban Women in Shah Alam, Malaysia: A Cross Sectional Study


Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Malaysia. Barriers for practicingbreast self examination (BSE) await exploration.
Objective: To assess the practice of BSE and its correlatedfactors and particularly barriers amongst urban women in Malaysia.
Methods: This cross-sectional study wasconducted with 222 Malaysian women using a self-administered questionnaire.
Results: The mean (SD) agewas 28.5 (±9.2) years, 59.0% were university graduates. Of the total, 81.1% were aware of breast cancer and55% practiced BSE. Amongst 45% of respondents who did not practice BSE, 79.8% did not know how to doit, 60.6% feared being diagnosed with breast cancer, 59.6% were worried about detecting breast cancer, 22%reported that they should not touch their bodies, 44% and 28% reported BSE is embarrassing or unpleasant,29% time consuming, 22% thought they would never have breast cancer or it is ineffective and finally 20%perceived BSE as unimportant. Logistic regression modeling showed that respondents aged ≥45 years, beingMalay, married and having a high education level were more likely to practice BSE (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Inthis study sample, a significant proportion of respondents was aware of breast cancer but did not practice BSE.Knowledge, psychological, cultural, perception and environmental factors were identified as barriers. BSEpractice was associated significantly with socio-demographic factors and socioeconomic status.