Breast Cancer Awareness among Middle Class Urban Women - a Community-Based Study from Mumbai, India


Targeting breast cancer awareness along with comprehensive cancer care is appropriate in low and middleincome countries like India, where there are no organized and affordable screening services. It is essential toidentify the existing awareness about breast cancer in the community prior to launching an organized effort. Thisstudy assessed the existing awareness about breast cancer amongst women and their health seeking practicesin an urban community in Mumbai, India. A postal survey was undertaken with low or no cost options forreturning the completed questionnaires. The majority of the women were aware about cancer but awarenessabout symptoms and signs was poor. Women were willing to accept more information about cancer and thosewith higher awareness scores were more likely to seek medical help. They were also more likely to have undergonebreast examination in the past and less likely to use alternative medicines. High income was associated withbetter awareness but this did not translate into better health seeking behaviour. Organized programmes givingdetailed information about breast cancer and its symptoms are needed and women from all income categoriesneed to be encouraged for positive change towards health seeking. Further detailed studies regarding barriersto health seeking in India are necessary.