Beliefs about Breast Cancer among Women in the Western Amazon: A Population-Based Study

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 National School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Postgraduate Program in Public Health and Environment, Brazil.

2 Federal University of Acre, Postgraduate Program in Public Health, Brazil.

Abstract

Objective: Evaluate the beliefs about the risk factors for breast cancer in a population of women from the western
Amazon and determine the factors associated with the higher belief scores presented by this population. Methods:
A population-based cross-sectional study included 478 women aged >40 years residing in Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil.
An American Cancer Society questionnaire was applied to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about breast
cancer. Results: The main beliefs about the risk factors for breast cancer were breast trauma (95%), use of underwire
bra (58.5%), and a high number of sexual partners (55.5%). Women from younger age groups presented higher belief
scores (Bcoefficient: –0.04, 95% CI: –0.07; –0.01) than those of women from older age groups. A strong association was
noted between high knowledge scores of risk factors and signs/symptoms of the disease and high belief scores in the
study group (Bcoefficient:0.33;95%CI:0.28;0.38). Conclusion: The results indicate the existence of important beliefs
related to the risk factors for breast cancer. Women from younger age groups, women who have seen a gynecologist in
the past 2 years, and women who had more knowledge about the risk factors and signs and symptoms of breast cancer
had higher belief scores.

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