Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, An-Najah National University, Palestine
Background: Early detection remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control in terms of outcome and survival. Thus far the only breast cancer screening method proven effective is mammography. The awareness of female health care workers (HCW) about breast cancer prevention is of vital importance, as their beliefs and behavior may have a major impact on other women. This study was designed to assess mammography screening uptake among female healthcare workers at primary healthcare centers, and to identify the primary motivators and barriers that affect uptake results. Materials and Methods: A cross sectional study design was used to assess mammography screening by 299 female healthcare workers who completed a self-administered questionnaire that assessed demographics, screening uptake, motivators and barriers. Results: The mean age was 46 years (within age of risk). The majority (95.1%) demonstrated adequate knowledge about breast cancer and mammography screening and 50% of the participants reported having at least one mammogram; however only 21% of them had regularly scheduled mammograms. The most frequent reported motivator was the perceived benefit that early detection of breast cancer is important for its management (89.6%), followed by the belief that mammography can detect breast cancer before its symptoms appear (84.4%). On the other hand, the most frequent barrier reported was being busy (46.7%), followed by the lack of perceived susceptibility (41.5%). Conclusions: Mammography screening was found to be sub-optimal in a population of HCW's with 50 % stating that they received a mammogram at least once, and a minority reported regular screening. There is a pressing need for educational programs aimed at removing the barriers that limit compliance with recommendations for mammography screening, and to emphasize the importance of early detection in breast cancer treatment. Ensuring the availability and accessibility of screening services, particularly for healthcare workers within their work settings are other important factors that would improve the acceptance and compliance for mammography screening programs.