Health Beliefs and Breast Self-Examination among Female University Nursing Students in Turkey


Background: The aim of this study was to determine the health beliefs and knowledge about breast self examination (BSE) and the actual BSE habits of female university nursing students. Materials and
Methods: The study sample recruited 189 nursing students who agreed to participate in the study. Descriptive statistics, the Mann-Whitney U test, one way ANOVA test, t test and Pearson correlation analysis were used to analyse the data.
Results: 83.1% of nursing students had knowledge about breast cancer (BC) and BSE in the study. BSEwas practiced by 70.4% of nursing students; 21.8% of them performed BSE regularly. A fear of developing BC was an incentive for 85% of nursing students to practice BSE. The confidence subscale scores in the third and fourth years of students’ university education were higher, and the barrier subscale score in these same years was lower than their first years of study. Perception of benefit of nursing students experiencing breast-related discomfort exerted a positive effect. Nursing students with lower perception of barriesr performed BSE regularly.In conclusion, nursing students’ years of university study, breast cancer knowledge, history of breast cancer in family, and BSE practice status were factors affecting their health beliefs.
Conclusions: These study results indicate the importance of developing education and training programs which educate not only nursing students but all women about breast cancer, its symptoms, the importance of early diagnosis and of regular BSE.