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J Public Health (Oxf). 2019 Jan 4. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdy228. [Epub ahead of print]

Risk factors of breast cancer and breast self-examination in early detection: systematic review of awareness among Indian women in community and health care professionals.

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Division of Cytopathology, National Institute for Cancer Prevention and Research, I-7, Sector-39, Noida, UP, India.
National Institute for Cancer Prevention and Research, I-7, Sector-39, Noida, UP, India.



This review aims at evaluating the awareness of risk factors for breast cancer (BC) and the knowledge of breast self-examination (BSE) among Indian women and health care professionals (HCPs).


Literature search was conducted on multiple bibliographic databases with restrictions applied to English peer-reviewed journals.


We reviewed 37 published articles on this topic. The mean level of awareness for risk factors such as age at menarche (22.3%), age at menopause (27.1%) and late first pregnancy (34.6%) was low in community. The awareness was better among HCPs; however, there was still room for improvement. Knowledge of BSE varied from very poor (2%) to good (69.8%) in the community setting. The practice was similarly negligible (0%) to moderate (34.9%). Mean knowledge and practice of BSE in HCPs were 77.1 and 55.5%, respectively. A significant difference was noted in knowledge and practice of BSE between community and HCPs (P < 0.05).


The present review highlights the low level of awareness regarding risk factors for BC and BSE in the community as well as HCPs. Though BSE is not the ideal modality, this seems to be the best alternative for resource-limited settings.


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