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Singapore Med J. 2002 Oct;43(10):509-16.

Knowledge and practice of breast cancer screening amongst public health nurses in Singapore.

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National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, Singapore.



The study aimed to examine the knowledge and practice of breast cancer screening amongst Public Health nurses who are patient educators.


A self-administered questionnaire was sent to all 447 nurses in the Public Health Service to assess their knowledge and practice of breast cancer screening. Response rate was 96.4%. Knowledge scores ranged from 0-17 with one point given to a correct knowledge question, zero for wrong answer.


Median knowledge score was nine and 58.3% of nurses scored > or = 9. Statistically significant factors influencing knowledge scores were related to the nursing profession, namely nursing qualifications, current nursing post and current workplace. 76.2% of Nursing Officers/Higher Nursing Officers and 74.5% of midwives had knowledge scores > or = 9 compared with 57.3% of staff nurses and 40.8% of assistant nurses (p < 0.01). 60.1% of nurses who were taught breast-self examination scored > or = 9 (p < 0.05). As for practice, 93.7% of nurses did breast-self-examination, 54.1% had clinical breast examination in the past one year and 50.2% had mammogram done. On multivariate analysis, significant factors affecting practice of clinical breast examination were marital status (Prevalence Rate Ratio 1.94, 95% Confidence Interval 1.20-3.15), doctor's gender (PRR 1.35, CI 1.04-1.75) and those affecting mammogram were age group (PRR 1.78, CI 1.27-2.48), marital status (PRR 1.63, CI 1.03-2.59), history of breast disease (PRR 1.51, CI 1.06-2.16).


The majority of nurses had certain misconceptions in the knowledge of breast cancer and breast cancer screening. A higher proportion of nurses in the Family Health Service had higher knowledge scores than other nurses in the Public Health Service. Most of the nurses did breast-self-examination. Having ever married and the availability of a female doctor influenced the nurses attending clinical breast examination. Nurses who were > or = 50 years old, ever married and those with a positive history of breast disease were more likely to have mammography done.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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