Practice and Barriers Toward Breast Self-Examination Among Young Malaysian Women


Introduction:The etiology of breast cancer is still unknown and adequate primary prevention strategies orinterventions are still not possible. Therefore, early detection remains the first priority and regular practiceof breast self-examination (BSE) influences treatment, quality of life, survival, and prognosis of breast cancerpatients.
Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the practices and barriers towards breastself-examination among young Malaysian women. Methodology:Cross-sectional study was conducted among251 female students at the Management and Science University, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. Questionnaireswere distributed at gathering places such as the university cafeteria, the university plaza, the Islamic center, andat the library. In addition, questionnaires were distributed in the lecture halls. The proposal of this study wasapproved by the Ethics and Research Committee of Management and Science University. Data was analysis usingSPSS version 13, t-test was used to analyze the associated factors toward the practice of BSE.
Results:A totalnumber of 251 students participated in this study. The majority of them were older than 20 years old,of Malayracial origin, single and from urban areas (66.5%; 63.7%; 96%; 70.9% respectively). Regarding their lifestylepractices, the majority of participants do exercise, are non-smokers and do not drink alcohol (71.3%; 98.4%;94.4% respectively). More than half of the study participants mentioned that they have practiced BSE (55.4%).Regarding the sources of information about BSE, the majority mentioned that radio and TV were their mainsources of information (38.2%). Age, exercise and family history of cancer significantly influenced the practice ofBSE (p = 0.045; p=0.002; p=0.017 respectively). Regarding the barriers to BSE, the majority who never practicedBSE mentioned that lack of knowledge, not having any symptoms, and being afraid of being diagnosed withbreast cancer were the main barriers to practicing BSE (20.3%; 14.3%; 4.4% respectively).
Conclusion:Morethan half ofthe participants practiced BSE. Age, exercise and family history of cancer significantly influencedthe practice of the BSE. Lack of knowledge, not having any symptoms and being afraid of being diagnosedwith breast cancer were the main barriers to practicing BSE. There is an urgent need to develop a continuousawareness campaign among university students on the importance of performing BSE.