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Breast cancer, Risk factors, Female outpatient attendees, Myanmar
Background: Although breast cancer is an important health problem in Myanmar, awareness of breast health has not been widely described.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out to explore awareness of early signs and risk factors of breast cancer among outpatient attendees at the Mandalay Central Women Hospital.
Results: A total of 402 respondents with mean age of 31.4±9.0 years participated in the study. More than half of the respondents (65.9%) were aware of breast lumps as a breast cancer sign. Nearly half (42% to 48.7%) of the respondents were aware of the various risk factors of breast cancer. Although 54.1% had heard of breast self-examination, only 25.3% had knowledge of mammograms. Older women (age 49 years or more) had significantly better awareness of two early breast cancer signs; change of breast shape (54.1% vs 39.9%) and discharge from nipple (49.2% vs 33.4%). Those with less than high school education had significantly lower awareness of the following signs of breast cancer; thickening of the breast skin (39.3 % vs 20.45%), dimpling of the breast skin (43.2% vs 24.6%), change of breast shape (52.5% vs 35.2%), and discharge from nipple (44.9% vs 31.9%). They also displayed significantly lower awareness of risk factors of breast cancer.
Conclusion: Among the study respondents, only one third had heard of self-breast examination and only a few (10%) examined both breasts regularly. Greater awareness of breast health and breast cancer screening should be imparted to promote breast health among women in Myanmar.
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