Breast Cancer Knowledge and Screening Behaviors of the Female Teachers

Nur N.

WOMEN & HEALTH, vol.50, no.1, pp.37-52, 2010 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 50 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/03630241003601087
  • Title of Journal : WOMEN & HEALTH
  • Page Numbers: pp.37-52


Breast cancer is the most frequently occurring cancer in women. The objective of this study was to determine the level of knowledge about risk factors for breast cancer and screening behaviors among 468 female teachers who work in Sivas, Turkey. In this cross-sectional survey, a self-administered, structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Up to one-half (52.4%) of the teachers thought that they had enough knowledge about breast cancer. The sources of that information were television (59.0%), newspapers (48.9%), and health professionals (24.1%); 58.5% of the teachers had a sufficient knowledge level about breast cancer risk factors. The most frequently reported risk factor was family history of breast cancer (94.9%), followed by getting older, high fat diet and having a first child at a late age (68.6%, 51.7%, and 45.1%, respectively). No significant differences were found in knowledge by age groups, having breast-related complaints, teaching experience, or marital status. Among the teachers, 43.9% had performed breast self-examination; yet only 10.5% of them performed it monthly. Only 22.3% of the teachers reported having at least one clinical breast-examination. Among the 136 women over the age of forty years, only 37.5% had had at least one mammogram. A significant association was noted between level of knowledge about breast cancer risk factors and use of breast self-examination. Also, being married and having breast-related complaints were significantly related to practicing clinical breast-examination and mammography. This study revealed a relatively low awareness about the knowledge and practice of screening methods among teachers. The relatively low rates of breast self-examination, clinical breast-examination, and mammography practiced by this group of teachers are of concern and suggest that increased awareness of these methods, their value, and how they should be conducted is needed.