Breast Cancer Awareness at the Community Level among Women in Delhi, India


Background: To assess women’s awareness from diverse sections of society in Delhi regarding various aspectsof breast cancer (BC) – perceptions, signs and symptoms, risk factors, prevention, screening and treatment.Materials and
Methods: Community-level survey was undertaken in association with the Indian Cancer Society(ICS), Delhi during May 2013-March 2014. Women attending BC awareness workshops by ICS were givenself-administered questionnaires before the workshop in the local language to assess BC literacy. Informationprovided by 2017 women was converted into awareness scores (aware=1) for analysis using SPSS. Awarenessscores were dichotomized with median score=19 as cut off, create more aware and less aware categories. Bivariateand multivariate analysis provided P-values, odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results:Broadly, 53.4% women were aware about various aspects of BC. Notably, 49.1% women believed that BC wasincurable and 73.9% women believed pain to be an initial BC symptom. Only 34.9% women performed breast selfexamination(BSE) and 6.9% women had undergone clinical breast-examination/mammography. 40.5% womenhad higher awareness (awareness score > median score of 19), which was associated with education [graduates(OR=2.31; 95%CI=1.78, 3.16), post-graduates (OR=7.06; 95%CI=4.14, 12.05) compared to ≤ high school] andsocio-economic status (SES) [low-middle (OR=4.20; 95%CI=2.72, 6.49), middle (OR=6.00; 95%CI=3.82, 9.42)and upper (OR=6.97; 95%CI=4.10, 11.84) compared to low SES].
Conclusions: BC awareness of women in Delhiwas suboptimal and was associated with low SES and education. Awareness must be drastically increased viacommunity outreach and use of media as a first step in the fight against BC.