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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

How do nurses and teachers perform breast self-examination: are they reliable sources of information?

Fatma Demirkiran1*, Nevin Akdolun Balkaya2, Sakine Memis3, Gulengun Turk4, Safiye Ozvurmaz5 and Pars Tuncyurek6

Author Affiliations

1 Psychiatric Nursing, Adnan Menderes University School of Health,Genclik Cad. No:7, 09100 Aydin / Turkey

2 Gynecological Nursing, Adnan Menderes University School of Health, Genclik Cad. No:7, 09100 Aydin / Turkey

3 Medical Nursing, Adnan Menderes University School of Health, Genclik Cad. No:7, 09100 Aydin / Turkey

4 Fundamentals of Nursing, Adnan Menderes University School of Health, Genclik Cad. No:7, 09100 Aydin / Turkey

5 Public Health Nursing, Adnan Menderes University School of Health, Genclik Cad. No:7, 09100 Aydin / Turkey

6 Department of Surgery, Adnan Menderes University Faculty of Medicine, Genclik Cad. No:7, 09100 Aydin / Turkey

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BMC Public Health 2007, 7:96  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-96

Published: 5 June 2007

Abstract

Background

Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths among women worldwide. The aim of the present study was to determine and compare knowledge, behavior and attitudes among female nurses and teachers concerning breast self-examination (BSE).

Methods

Two-hundred and eighty nine women working in Aydin, Turkey (125 nurses and 164 teachers) were included in the study. The data were collected using a questionnaire designed to measure the knowledge, attitudes and behavior of the groups. Analysis involved percentiles, χ2 tests, t tests and factor analysis.

Results

The knowledge of nurses about BSE was higher than that of teachers (81.5% versus 45.1%; p < 0.001). BSE practice parameters (i.e. age groups, indications, frequency) were similar (p > 0.05), whereas skills in performing self-examination were higher in nurses (p < 0.001). Fear of having breast cancer is the most frequent reason for performing BSE. Among nurses, the reasons for failure to perform BSE were the absence of prominent breast problems (82%) and forgetting (56.4%). The teachers who did not perform BSE said that the reasons were lack of knowledge on how to perform self-examination (68.9%) and absence of problems (54%). Both groups had unacceptable technical errors in the performance of BSE.

Conclusion

We conclude that nurses and teachers should be supported with information enabling them to accomplish their roles in the community. To improve BSE practice, it is crucial to coordinate continuous and planned education.