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J BUON. 2018 Dec;23(7):44-52.

Knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of breast and cervical cancers and screenings of women working in primary health care services.

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Malatya Provincial Health Directorate, Malatya, Turkey.



Determination of information attitudes, behaviors and related factors on breast and cervical cancer screenings of primary health care workers.


The population of the study consisted of 1,130 female health workers working in health facilities (Community Health Centers, Family Health Centers) that provided primary health care services in the province of Mersin. The fieldwork was carried out in October 2017-February 2018 period. There were 62 questions in the survey form. There were questions about socio-demographic and living conditions in the first 19 questions and breast and cervical cancer in the next 43 questions.


In the study, 87.8% of the target group could be reached, 84.8% of the physicians and 88.2% of the non-physician health professionals. The mean age was 38.93 ± 7.89. Of the group 14% were physicians and the rest were health workers such as midwives, nurses, health officers and medical secretaries, while 47.7% of the group had at least 1 relative who was diagnosed with cancer. More than 90% of the group said that breast and cervical cancer could be diagnosed early and treated if diagnosed early. Of the group 95.3% knew how to do breast self-examination (BSE) and 90.1% of those who knew were doing BSE. The most common response to the question of what should be done for early recognition of breast cancer was BSE and Pap smear test in cervical cancer. The physician group was more advantageous than the other staff in knowing and practicing BSE and in what period it should be done. The most common symptom of breast cancer was the presence of a mass or swelling in the breast. Of the subjects in the target age group, 21.9% of those who think they are at risk had never had a Pap smear test and 14.3% have not had a gynecological examination.


Although these findings indicate that health care professionals are more knowledgable in terms of breast and cervical cancer screening than non-health care workers, it is necessary to motivate healthcare professionals to increase their level of knowledge and practice on cancer screening. The most important means of achieving this is to ensure that in-service trainings, cancer screenings and the risks to be taken in case of non-screening are mentioned seriously.


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