Breast Cancer Screening Awareness among Women: Barriers, Knowledge, and Strategies for Early Detection
Dr. Shalini Devi1, Dr. Jyotsna Guleria2 and Dr. Shivek Mohan3*
1Dr Shalini Devi MD Radiology, CH Theog, Shimla.
2Dr Jyotsna Guleria MD Anaesthesia, CH Karsog, Mandi.
3Dr Shivek Mohan SR surgery, DR RKGMC Hamirpur
Dr. Shivek Mohan
Abstract: Background: Breast cancer is a global public health concern with significant morbidity and mortality among women. Early detection through breast cancer screening is crucial for improving survival rates. However, barriers to accessing and utilizing screening services persist, particularly in low- and middle-income regions. This study assesses the awareness and knowledge of breast cancer screening among women in Himachal Pradesh, India, and explores associated barriers.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Himachal Pradesh from April to July 2023. The study included 400 reproductive age group females. A structured questionnaire assessed demographic information and knowledge of breast cancer screening. Data were analyzed using Epi Info V7 software.
Results: Participants exhibited strong awareness of breast cancer (85.5%) but limited knowledge of screening methods, recommended frequency (33.5% and 25.25%, respectively), and age for mammograms (24.5%). Notably, 49.5% recognized the importance of clinical breast examinations, and 51% were aware of breast self-examinations. Knowledge of breast cancer symptoms (69%) and the potential for benign breast lumps (57.75%) was reasonable. Approximately 53.5% acknowledged lifestyle choices in risk reduction, while only 40.25% identified family history as a risk factor. Barriers to screening were recognized by 26.5% of participants. Misconceptions were prevalent (53.25%), and 58% knew reliable information sources.
Conclusion: This study reveals gaps in knowledge about breast cancer screening among women in Himachal Pradesh. While awareness of breast cancer is high, targeted education on screening methods, guidelines, and risk factors is needed. Addressing misconceptions, cultural factors, and barriers to screening is essential. Enhancing awareness and knowledge can contribute to improved breast cancer outcomes in the region.