Open Access Open Badges Research article

Breast cancer-preventive behaviors: exploring Iranian women’s experiences

Maryam Khazaee-Pool1, Ali Montazeri2*, Fereshteh Majlessi1*, Abbas Rahimi Foroushani3, Saharnaz Nedjat3 and Davoud Shojaeizadeh1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Education and Promotion, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 15875–6951, Tehran, Iran

2 Mental Health Research Group, Health Metrics Research Center, Institute for Health Sciences Research, ACECR, P.O. Box 13185–1488, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

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BMC Women's Health 2014, 14:41  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-14-41

Published: 10 March 2014



Breast cancer-preventive behaviors are critical for community and women’s health. Although many studies have addressed women’s knowledge and attitudes toward breast cancer, little information is available about their experiences of breast cancer preventive behaviors. This study aimed to explore the experiences of Iranian women regarding preventive behaviors.


This was a qualitative study. A sample of Iranian women aged 30 years and over was selected purposefully. Data collected through focus group and semi-structured audiotaped interviews and were analyzed by conventional content analysis.


The following five main themes emerged from the analysis: attitude toward breast cancer and preventive behaviors, stress management, healthy lifestyle, perceived social support and individual/environmental barriers. The findings showed that women were highly motivated to preventive behaviors of breast cancer but faced considerable challenges.


The findings indicated that increased awareness, positive attitudes, stronger motivational factors, and fewer barriers toward preventive behaviors are most important parameters that might encourage women to practice breast cancer-preventive behaviors.

Preventive behaviors; Breast cancer; Iranian women; Qualitative study