Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the State of Qatar. Due to lowparticipation in breast cancer screening (BCS) activities, women in Qatar are often diagnosed with breast cancerat advanced stages of the disease. Findings indicate that low participation rates in BCS activities are significantlyrelated to women’s low level of awareness of breast cancer screening. The objectives of this study were to: (1)determine the factors that influence Qatari women’s awareness of breast cancer and its screening activities:and (2) to find ways to effectively promote breast cancer screening activities among Arabic speaking womenin Qatar. Materials and
Methods: A multicenter, cross-sectional quantitative survey of 1,063 (87.5% responserate) female Qatari citizens and non-Qatari Arabic-speaking residents, 35 years of age or older, was conductedin Qatar from March 2011 to July 2011. Outcome measures included participant awareness levels of the mostrecent national recommended guidelines of BCS, participation rates in BCS activities, and factors related toawareness of BCS activities.
Results: While most participants (90.7%) were aware of breast cancer, less thanhalf had awareness of BCS practices (28.9% were aware of breast self-examination and 41.8% of clinical breastexams, while 26.4% knew that mammography was recommended by national screening guidelines. Only 7.6% hadknowledge of all three BCS activities). Regarding BCS practice, less than one-third practiced BCS appropriately(13.9% of participants performed breast self-examination (BSE) monthly, 31.3% had a clinical breast exam(CBE) once a year or once every two years, and 26.9% of women 40 years of age or older had a mammogramonce every year or two years). Awareness of BCS was significantly related to BCS practice, education level, andreceipt of information about breast cancer and/or BCS from a variety of sources, particularly doctors and themedia.
Conclusions: The low levels of participation rates in BCS among Arab women in this study indicate astrong need to increase awareness of the importance of breast cancer screening in Qatari women. Without thisawareness, compliance with the most recent breast cancer screening recommendations in Qatar will remainlow. An increased effort to implement mass media and public health campaigns regarding the impact of breastcancer on women’s health and the benefits of early detection of breast cancer must be coupled with an enhancedparticipation of health care providers in delivering this message to Qatar population.