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


Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women globally. This study was conducted to compare theawareness 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 outin five selected rural districts of Pahang and Perak. Two hundred and fifty households were randomly selectedand interviewed face to face using a semi-structured questionnaire. The majority of residents from both stateswere Malay, aged between 50 and 60 years and had a secondary level of education. Malay women aged 40–49years and women with a higher level of education were significantly more aware of breast cancer (p<0.05). Abouthalf 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 andthat more than half practice BSE and CBE. The women’s level of education appears to contribute to their levelof knowledge and health behaviour. However, more effort is needed to encourage all women in rural areas toacquire further knowledge on breast cancer.