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Pan Afr Med J. 2012;13:20. Epub 2012 Sep 30.

Knowledge, attitude and practice of prophylactic mastectomy among patients and relations attending a surgical outpatient clinic.

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  • 1General surgery Division, Department of Surgery, College of Health Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria.



Prophylactic mastectomy (PM) is uncommon in our practice. This study documents the knowledge and attitude of patients and relation to prophylactic mastectomy.


Adults attending surgical outpatient unit were interviewed. Biodata, awareness of breast cancer, and attitude towards prophylactic mastectomy were inquired about and documented.


Two hundred and forty eight (99 men and 149 women) were involved. Most, 75.6%, were age bracket 20-29 years and 77.2% had tertiary education. Only 26 (10.4%) of the respondents had previous history of breast diseases. 96.4% were aware of cancer of the breast while 113 (45.2%) of them were aware that breast cancer gene can be inherited from parents and 60 (24.2%) believe cancer of the breast can affect women with strong positive family history. Only 64 (25.6%) of them would agree to prophylactic mastectomy if found necessary. Reasons given for possible refusal to consent to PM include effect on beauty, (40%), psychological effect, (22.8%), non-curing of disease, (18%), possible surgical complications, (7.2%), and financial cost, (1.2%). Presence of unilateral breast cancer and high risk status constituted about 71% of suggested possible indications for PM while presence of any breast disease was suggested by only 7.3% of respondents. The profession or education of respondents did not have significance on their acceptance or rejection of PM.


Awareness of prophylactic mastectomy is low among patients in this study. Education about breast cancer and methods of prevention need to be improved.


Prophylactic mastectomy; Surgical outpatient clinic; breast cancer; prevention

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