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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Knowledge of breast cancer and its early detection measures among rural women in Akinyele Local Government Area, Ibadan, Nigeria

O Abimbola Oluwatosin1* and Oladimeji Oladepo2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nursing, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria

2 Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, Faculty of Public health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria

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BMC Cancer 2006, 6:271  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-271

Published: 26 November 2006



Breast cancer is the commonest cancer among women in Nigeria and globally. In Nigeria, late presentations of breast cancer cases have also been consistent for three decades. In an environment where there is no established national screening program for breast cancer, it is pertinent to assess the knowledge of breast cancer and its early detection measures. The objective of this study therefore, was to assess rural women's level of knowledge of breast cancer and its early detection measures.


The knowledge of various aspects of breast cancer; etiology, early warning signs, treatment modes and early detection measures; was assessed among women in two randomly selected health districts in Akinyele Local Government in Ibadan. The assessment was performed with the use of a self-structured validated questionnaire administered by trained interviewers to 420 women randomly selected from the two health districts. The various aspects of facts about breast cancer were scored and added together to determine respondents' level of knowledge


The mean score of knowledge of breast cancer was 55.4 SD 5.4 (range of scores obtainable was 26–78), while the mean score for knowledge of early detection of breast cancer was 24.8 SD 2.3 (range of scores obtainable was 12–36). The leading source of information about breast cancer was "elders, neighbors and friends" and 63(15.4%) acknowledged this source, while only 18 (4.4%) respondents acknowledged health workers as source. Only 54 (13.3%) claimed to have heard about breast self- examination (BSE) however, and the leading source of information about BSE were health workers. Nine (2.2%) of respondents claimed this source.


This study revealed that respondents lacked knowledge of vital issues about breast cancer and early detection measures. It also revealed that health workers were not forthcoming with information to the public thereby constituting a challenge to community health nurses and other health workers, to provide vital information to the public.