BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Malaysia. Barriers for practicing breast self examination (BSE) await exploration.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the practice of BSE and its correlated factors and particularly barriers amongst urban women in Malaysia.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted with 222 Malaysian women using a self-administered questionnaire.
RESULTS: The mean (SD) age was 28.5 (±9.2) years, 59.0% were university graduates. Of the total, 81.1% were aware of breast cancer and 55% practiced BSE. Amongst 45% of respondents who did not practice BSE, 79.8% did not know how to do it, 60.6% feared being diagnosed with breast cancer, 59.6% were worried about detecting breast cancer, 22% reported that they should not touch their bodies, 44% and 28% reported BSE is embarrassing or unpleasant, 29% time consuming, 22% thought they would never have breast cancer or it is ineffective and finally 20% perceived BSE as unimportant. Logistic regression modeling showed that respondents aged ≥45 years, being Malay, married and having a high education level were more likely to practice BSE (p<0.05).
CONCLUSION: In this study sample, a significant proportion of respondents was aware of breast cancer but did not practice BSE. Knowledge, psychological, cultural, perception and environmental factors were identified as barriers. BSE practice was associated significantly with socio-demographic factors and socioeconomic status.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.