Document Type: Research Articles
Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al–Ain, United Arab Emirates.
Background: The incidence of breast and cervical cancers is growing rapidly among Egyptian women. In this context, we assessed the prevalence of, and factors associated with the lack of knowledge among Egyptian females of performing breast self–examination (BSE) and unawareness of cervical smear cancer screening services. Methods: Secondary data analysis was performed on a representative population-based sample of 7,518 Egyptian females aged 15–59 years from the 2015 Egypt Health Issues Survey (EHIS). Crude and adjusted odds ratios (aOR) were used to explore the relationship between sociodemographic variables and having a lack of knowledge of performing BSE or unaware of cervical smear cancer screening service amongst 6,572 and 6,942 Egyptian females aged 21–59 years, respectively. Results: Mean age of females was 36.9 years with 62% aged between 21–39 years. The proportion of women with a lack of knowledge of performing BSE or who were unaware of cervical smear cancer screening service was 87.4% and 92.3%, respectively. After adjusting for potential confounding of sociodemographic and obstetric characteristics, young women aged 21–29 years (P<0.001), primary education or below (P<0.001), residing in rural areas (aOR, 1.37 and 1.48, P=0.001), accessing different media outlets "not at all or less than once a week" (aOR, 2.81 and 1.46, P≤0.05), were associated with a greater likelihood of being with lack knowledge of performing BSE or being unaware of cervical smear cancer screening services. Conclusions: In a country burdened with breast and cervical cancers, the majority of Egyptian women have a lack of knowledge on how to perform BSE or were unaware of the available cervical smear cancer screening services. Robust health campaigns are warranted to raise public knowledge of the method of BSE and of cervical smear cancer screening services, especially amongst females aged less than 30 years, with low levels of education, or those living in rural areas.