Awareness of Breast Cancer among Surgical Patients in a Tertiary Hospital in Malaysia

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

Department of Pharmacy, Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim, Sungai Petani, Malaysia

Abstract

 
Background: Breast cancer is the commonest cancer among women worldwide. About one in nineteen women in Malaysia are at risk, compared to one in eight in Europe and the United States. The objectives of this study were: (1) to assess patients’ knowledge on risk factors, symptoms and methods of screening of breast cancer; and (2) to determine their perceptions towards the disease treatment outcomes. Methods: A cross-sectional survey using a validated self-administered questionnaire was conducted among 119 consecutive surgical female patients admitted from 1st of September to 8th of October 2015 in Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim, Kedah. Data were analyzed using General linear regression and Spearman’s correlation with Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 20. Results: Mean (SD) age was 40.6 (15.1) years and majority of the patients were Malay (106, 89.1%). Mean scores for general knowledge, risk factors and symptoms of breast cancer were 50.2 (24.0%), 43.0 (22.9%) and 64.4 (28.4%) respectively. Mean total knowledge score was 52.1(19.7%). 80 (67.2%) and 55 (46.2%) patients were aware of breast self-examination and clinical breast examination recommendations, respectively. Generally, patients had positive perceptions towards breast cancer treatment outcomes. However, majority (59.7%) considered that it would be a long and painful process. Knowledge was significantly better among married women with spouses (p=0.046), those with personal history of breast cancer (p=0.022) and with monthly personal income (p=0.001) with the coefficient of determination, R2=0.16. Spearman’s correlation test showed a significant positive relationship between monthly personal income and breast cancer awareness (r = 0.343, p <0.001). Conclusion: Awareness on breast cancer among our patients was average. Thus, there is a need for more awareness programs to educate women about breast cancer and promote its early detection.

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