Breast self-examination (BSE) is a self-generated, non-invasive and non-irradiative method of breast cancer detection. This paper documents Malaysian women's awareness and practice of regular BSE as a potent breast cancer detection tool. A pre-test post-test questionnaire survey on women diagnosed with breast cancer (n=66) was conducted. Descriptive statistics and Chi-square tests were performed to correlate demographic variables, knowledge and regular practice of BSE. Findings showed that 80% of the breast cancer survivors self-detected the breast lumps, despite a high 85% of these women reporting they were never taught about BSE. More than 70% of the women maintained that lack of knowledge/skill on the proper practice of BSE was the key barrier to a more regular BSE practice. After an educational intervention on BSE and breast awareness, we found an increase report from 17% (at pre-test) to 67% (at post-test) of self reported monthly BSE practices. Provision of self-management education incorporating BSE, a readily available cheap method, should be introduced at primary care and breast clinics. This strategy promotes women's self-efficacy which contributes towards cancer control agenda in less resource available countries around Asia Pacific. Longer follow up may be crucial to examine the adherence to positive BSE behaviour.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.