Document Type: Research Articles
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.
Research Section, Medical Simulation and Skills Development Centre, Oman Medical Specialty Board, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Background: Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer accounting for 24.5% of Omani female cancer. Early detection of BC through regular breast cancer screening (BCS) has been found to decrease mortality rates. The aim of this study was to identify knowledge, attitudes and barriers of Omani women toward BCS. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among adult Omani women attending the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH). Results: A total of 358 Omani women participated from 420 invited (response rate = 85.2%). Most women (92.1%) thought that BC could be cured if detected early, but less than half (46.8%) thought that they were at risk of BC if a relative had BC. The majority (81.1%) were aware that BCS was available in Oman, though less than half (48.5%) knew where to go for BCS and most (83.8%) had not undergone BCS before. The most common personal-related barriers to BCS were fear of BC diagnosis (40.8%), fear of treatment (52.1%) and embarrassment of the breast examination (46.6%). The most perceived system-related barriers to BCS were the concern over the availability of a male doctor (46.6%) or a non-Arabic speaking doctor (38.7%) and not recommended by the doctor (46.3%). Univariate binary logistic regression showed that attitudes toward BCS were influenced by their previous experiences of BCS (odds ratio [OR] = 2.28; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.18-4.41) and their willingness to participate in the future BCS [OR = 1.96; 95% CI: 1.14-3.37). Conclusion: Although Omani women showed an interest toward BCS, few had undergone BCS. Several cultural, practical and personal-related barriers were noted to interfere with BCS in Oman. Addressing these concerns through involving healthcare providers to reassure the women and implementing a national strategy of BCS could improve BCS screenings and early diagnosis of BC.