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Breast Cancer (Auckl). 2014 May 8;8:73-9. doi: 10.4137/BCBCR.S13745. eCollection 2014.

Breast Cancer Knowledge, Beliefs, and Screening Practices among Women Seeking Care at District Hospitals in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Author information

1
Pathfinder International, Watertown, MA, USA.
2
Tanzania Public Health Association, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
3
Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
4
Medical Oncology, Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute, Scarborough, ME, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Limited disease awareness among women may impact breast cancer stage-at-diagnosis in Tanzania, reducing survival. This study assessed breast cancer knowledge, screening practices, and educational preferences among outpatients at Tanzanian government-supported hospitals.

METHODS:

A convenience sample of women was surveyed regarding (1) knowledge/beliefs of breast cancer etiology, risk factors, symptoms, treatment, (2) early detection knowledge/practice, and (3) educational preferences.

RESULTS:

Among 225 respondents, 98.2% knew of breast cancer; 22.2% knew someone affected by breast cancer. On average, 30% of risk factors and 51% of symptoms were identified. Most accepted one or more breast cancer myths. Among 126 aware of breast self-exam, 40% did not practice it; only 0.9% underwent regular clinical breast examinations despite 68% being aware of the procedure. Among treatments, 87% recognized surgery, 70% radiation, and fewer systemic therapy. Preferred educational sources were group sessions, television/radio, and meetings with breast cancer survivors.

CONCLUSIONS:

This work reveals incomplete breast cancer awareness among Tanzanian women and promises to inform development of user-focused educational resources.

KEYWORDS:

Tanzania; awareness; breast cancer; low income; urban

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