BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Malaysia, about one in 19 women being at risk. This study aimed to investigate knowledge and practice of breast self-examination (BSE), as well as knowledge of risk factors for breast cancer amongst female adolescents in Malaysia. Subsequently, relationships between demographic characteristics and knowledge level of BSE, risk factors for breast cancer and BSE practice were assessed.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A descriptive, cross sectional survey was conducted using a sample of 500 Malaysian adolescents from the age of 15 to 19 years. A self-administered questionnaire was used to gather socio- demographic characteristics, knowledge of BSE, knowledge of risk factors for breast cancer and BSE practices.
RESULTS: The findings of this study indicated that female adolescents in Malaysia demonstrated an inadequate knowledge level of BSE and risk factors for breast cancer. Only 27.8% of female adolescents performed BSE regularly. BSE practice, knowledge of BSE and knowledge of risk factors for breast cancer showed significant positive relationships.
CONCLUSIONS: The study highlighted the importance of planning and implementing breast health education programs for female students in secondary schools in Malaysia. It will also provide the health care providers an avenue to stress on the importance of imparting breast health education to adolescents.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.