Factors Associated with Breast Cancer Awareness in Thai Women

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 QIMR Berghofer medical Research Institute, Queensland, Australia.

2 Faculty of Public Health, Lampang Campus, Thammasat University, Lampang, Thailand.

3 Faculty of Public Health, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.

Abstract

Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. In south-east Asia, both the incidence
and mortality rates of breast cancer are on the rise, and the latter is likely due to the limited access to large-scale
community screening program in these resource-limited countries. Breast cancer awareness is an important tool which
may, through increasing breast self-examination and the seeking of clinical examination, reduce breast cancer mortality.
Investigating factors associated with breast cancer awareness of women is likely to help identify those at risk, and
provide insights into developing effective health promotion interventions. Objective: To investigate factors associated
with breast cancer awareness in Thai women. Methods: A cross-sectional sample of Thai women aged 20-64 years
was collected during August to October, 2015 from two provinces of southern Thailand (Surat Thani and Songkla). A
questionnaire including the Breast Cancer Awareness Scale along with demographic characteristics was administered
and Proportional Odds Logistic regression was then used to investigate factors associated with breast cancer awareness.
Results: In total, 660 Thai women participated in this study. Factors most often associated with the various breast
cancer awareness domains were age and rurality. While rural women had poorer knowledge of breast cancer signs and
symptoms, they also had lower levels of perceived barriers and considerably better breast cancer awareness behaviors.
Conclusion: Despite lower knowledge of breast cancer risk factors and no evidence of better knowledge of signs and
symptoms, we found rural Thai women had considerably better breast cancer awareness behavior. This may be due to
these women’s lower levels of perceived barriers to breast cancer screening services. Indeed this suggests, at least in
Thai women, that interventions aimed at lowering perceived barriers rather than enhancing disease knowledge may
be more successful in engaging women with breast cancer screening services and increasing breast self-examination.

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