Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Nursing and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Primary health care nurses’ knowledge practice and client teaching of early detection measures of breast cancer in Ibadan

OAbimbola Oluwatosin

Author Affiliations

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

BMC Nursing 2012, 11:22  doi:10.1186/1472-6955-11-22

Published: 29 October 2012



Early detection of breast cancer is vital to effective management and outcome of breast cancer. It has been suggested that women given information and instruction about breast self- examination and breast awareness by health care professionals demonstrated higher knowledge and confidence and tend to practice breast self-examination more than those who received information from other sources. Breast Self-Examination (BSE) and Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) have been recommended as Early Detection Measures (EDM) for developing countries. This study evaluated Primary Health Care (PHC) nurses’ knowledge, practice and client teaching of EDM of breast cancer.


A descriptive study that utilized stratified random method to select PHC settings for the study. Data was collected from 120 trained nurses in selected settings. This represented 66.3% of total population of PHC nurses (181) in Ibadan. The instrument for data collection was a structured questionnaire that explored the bio data of participants, knowledge, practice and client teaching of EDMs of breast cancer. Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethical Review Committee of Oyo State Ministry of Health, Nigeria.


The mean age of the participants was 44.4±7.5 years. About half (52.2%) were double qualified (Registered Nurse and Midwife). Only 23 (20.0%) of the participants considered painless lump as an early sign of breast cancer while 47 (40.9%) considered pain as an early sign. BSE was listed as EDM of breast cancer by 80.9% of the participants while 40% and 30% listed CBE and mammogram respectively. Only eight (7.9%) have had a mammogram. The logistic regression of client teaching on four variables showed that for every increase in knowledge of breast cancer the odds of client teaching significantly increased by 7.5% (95% CI = 1.27 - 1.125). There were also significant relationships between knowledge of EDM, practice of BSE and client teaching.


It is vital that attention should be given to enhance breast cancer EDMs among the PHC nurses to be able to enhance health deviation self-care of the clients. Nurses’ knowledge, practice as well as client teaching especially at PHC level, will contribute to early detection of breast cancer.

Primary health care nurses; Breast self-examination; Clinical breast examination; Mammography; Client teaching