Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

The knowledge and attitudes of breast self-examination and mammography in a group of women in a rural area in western Turkey

Pınar Erbay Dündar1*, Dilek Özmen2, Beyhan Öztürk1, Gökçe Haspolat1, Filiz Akyıldız1, Sümeyra Çoban1 and Gamze Çakıroğlu1

Author Affiliations

1 Public Health Department, Faculty of Medicine, Celal Bayar University, Manisa, Turkey

2 Dep. of Public Health Nursing, School of Health, Celal Bayar University, Manisa, Turkey

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BMC Cancer 2006, 6:43  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-43

Published: 24 February 2006



Breast cancer appears to be a disease of both the developing and developed worlds. Among Turkish women, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The aims of this cross-sectional study were to determine levels of knowledge about breast cancer and to evaluate health beliefs concerning the model that promotes breast self- examination (BSE) and mammography in a group of women aged 20–64 in a rural area of western Turkey.


244 women were recruited by means of cluster sampling in this study. The questionnaire consisted of sociodemographic variables, a risk factors and signs of breast cancer form and the adapted version of Champion's Health Belief Model Scale (CHBMS). Bivariate correlation analysis, Chi square test, Mann-Whitney U test and logistic regression analysis were performed throughout the data analysis.


The mean age of the women was 37.7 ± 13.7. 49.2% of women were primary school graduates, 67.6% were married. Although 76.6% of the women in this study reported that they had heard or read about breast cancer, our study revealed that only 56.1% of them had sufficient knowledge of breast cancer, half of whom had acquired the information from health professionals.

Level of breast cancer knowledge was the only variable significantly associated with the BSE and mammography practice (p = 0.011, p = 0.007). BSE performers among the study group were more likely to be women who exhibited higher confidence and perceived greater benefits from BSE practice, and those who perceived fewer barriers to BSE performance and possessed knowledge of breast cancer.


By using the CHBMS constructs for assessment, primary health care providers can more easily understand the beliefs that influence women's BSE and mammography practice.