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Introduction: Breast cancer is among the leading causes of death among women globally. Its mortality and morbidity are highest in Africa despite the low prevalence. Sadly, breast screening has never been taking seriously in this region thus rendering management of the disease difficult. The study is designed to determine the knowledge and practice of breast screening among rural women in Imo State, Nigeria.
Methods: This cross sectional study was conducted using a multi-stage sampling technique to select 258 women from a sampled households. A pretested semi structured questionnaire was used for data collection and data analysis was done using mean scores and percentages.
Results: The result showed that 87.3% of the women was aware of breast cancer and the dominant sources of information on the disease were radio/television (91.0%), internet (88.0%), friends (85.0%) and newspapers/magazines (79.0%). It was further found that most (83.7%) of the women knew that breast cancer affected only the breast, 76.7% knew that breast cancer can be detected by breast self-examination and screening. Also, 96.1% of the women knew that breast cancer affects only women while 84.9% knew it can only be detected in the hospital/clinic. On the practice of breast screening, the majority (79.5%) of the women indicated they had not been screened whereas only 5.0% had been screened. However, the result revealed that breast self-examination (92.3%) was the most popular screening method among the women followed by clinical breast examination (7.8%). It was also found that 79.5% of the women had been screened more than once in a year whereas 15.5% were not sure the number of times they had been screened.
Conclusion: The study concludes, that in spite of the awareness and high knowledge of breast cancer and importance of screening in the area, the practice of breast screening among the women was very low. It is therefore, recommended sensitization campaigns on breast screening be intensified in rural areas.
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