Document Type: Research Articles
Public Health and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt.
College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia.
Ministry of Health, Al Hassa Health Directorate, Saudi Arabia.
Introduction: Screening for breast cancer (BC) is of low rate in Saudi Arabia; although it is provided in the country free of charge to the population. This cross-sectional study aimed at investigating the perceived barriers towards BC screening in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia. Participants and Methods: A total of 816 adult Saudi women aged ≥ 30 years attending for routine primary health services or accompanying patients at the selected primary health care centers (PHCs) were randomly selected from 12 PHCs (8 urban and four rural) using multi-stage sampling method. Participants were invited to personal interview using semi-structured data collection instrument including inquiries about socio-demographics, reproductive history, previous histories of diagnosed breast lesions and breast cancer. The perceived individual barriers towards screening, their attitudes, the reasons for not attending previously held screening campaigns in Al Hassa, were also included. Results: Low utilization of BC screening has being significantly associated with woman’s age (OR=2.55; 95% CI= 1.71-3.83), higher educational status (OR=2.98; 95% CI=2.05-4.34), higher family income (OR=1.96; 95% CI=1.31-2.93), using hormonal contraception (OR=1.46; 95% CI=0.99-2.13) and positive history of previous breast (OR=12.16; 95% CI=6.89-21.46), as shown by the results of the logistic regression model. Exploratory factor analysis showed that personal fears (especially fear of doctors/examiners, fear of hospitals and health facilities and fear of consequences/results) were the major factors that hinder women from utilizing the free of charge BC screening with high loading eigenvalue of 3.335, explaining 30.4% of the barriers. Conclusion: Educational interventions aim at improving breast cancer knowledge and addressing barriers should be incorporated as core component of the screening program in Saudi Arabia.