Awareness and Attitudes Regarding Breast Cancer and Breast Self-examination Among Female Students at Makerere University.
Ochieng, Emma Kyaterekela
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Background Although there are huge efforts to increase the level of breast cancer awareness, breast self-examination (BSE) is still poorly practiced across Uganda. This baseline study was aimed at assessing the awareness of female Makerere university students about breast cancer and their practice of BSE. Methodology Using a cross-sectional research design, a self-administered survey was used. A pre-validated, pre-piloted questionnaire was distributed to female Makerere university students. The questionnaire was divided into four domains: socio-demographic characteristics, the respondent’s knowledge of breast cancer and BSE, their attitudes towards risk factors for breast cancer, and their experience of breast cancer screening and BSE. Statistical analysis was performed using descriptive statistics to assess the awareness about breast cancer and practice of BSE among female Makerere university students. Results Of the 370 respondents, 294 were between the age of 21 and 26 years, 129 were in their second year of study, 74.6% were not in any kind of relationship. 100 had no idea of breast cancer being genetically related, 200 knew that childhood radiotherapy to the chest could cause breast cancer, and 153 knew that a painless mass under the armpit could be a sign for breast cancer. 200 and 188 knew that abrupt changes in size and abrupt changes in size of the breast could be a sign of breast cancer respectively. 305 had heard of BSE, 211 had practiced it and 340 would start BSE after the age of 20 years whereas 100 would start mammography after the age of 40 years.