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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Knowledge, attitudes and practice of breast cancer screening among female health workers in a Nigerian urban city

Adenike O Akhigbe1* and Vivian O Omuemu2

Author affiliations

1 Department of Radiology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria

2 Department of Community Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria

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Citation and License

BMC Cancer 2009, 9:203  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-203

Published: 25 June 2009

Abstract

Background

Late presentation has been observed as the hallmark of breast cancer in Nigerian women and an earlier onset has been reported in this population. This study was designed to assess the awareness of female health workers about risk factors and screening methods for early detection of breast cancer.

Methods

A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out among female health workers in the two major government health institutions in Benin City, Edo State capital in Nigeria.

Data analysis was by SPSS version 10 and test of significance was done with differences considered significant at p < 0.05.

Results

Three hundred and ninety-three (393) female health workers out of five hundred and five eligible subjects completed and returned the questionnaires, giving a response rate of 77.8%. One hundred and two (26%) were Doctors, two hundred and fifty-four (64.6%) Nurses, and thirty-seven (9.4%) were Radiographers, Laboratory Scientists and Pharmacists. A high proportion of our respondents had very poor knowledge about risk factors for breast cancer (55%). The awareness of mammography as a diagnostic method was very high (80.7%), but an extremely low knowledge of mammography as a screening method was found. Mammography practice of only 3.1% was found among those above 40 years of age who qualify for routine annual screening. Relatively low knowledge (45.5%) about Breast Self Examination (BSE) as a screening method was found.

Conclusion

These female health workers who are expected to act as role models and educate the public had poor knowledge of risk factors for breast cancer and practice of breast cancer screening. There is very urgent need for regular update courses for health workers concerning breast cancer education including screening methods.