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Perceptions and knowledge of breast cancer and breast self-examination among young adult women in southwest Ethiopia: Application of the health belief model

PLoS One. 2022 Sep 21;17(9):e0274935. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0274935. eCollection 2022.


BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is still a recognized public health issue in Ethiopia. Despite this, the viewpoints and comprehensions of young women about the situation are unknown. Therefore, this study was carried out to assess the knowledge and perceptions of young adult women in Southwest Ethiopia about breast cancer and breast self-examination (BSE).

METHODS: A community-based cross-sectional study was carried out in the Gurage zone, southwest Ethiopia, in 2021. A total of 392 young adult women were randomly selected from both urban and rural strata using a three-stage stratified sampling process. A pretested questionnaire was used to collect the data. For data entry, Epi-data 4.6 with a double-entry approach was used, and for analysis, SPSS 26 was used. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to identify variables associated with BSE behavior. A p-value of 0.05 or below was considered statistically significant with a 95% CI.

RESULTS: The respondents’ ages ranged from 20 to 24, with a mean of 21.25 (±1.32) years. Breast cancer and BSE were unknown to more than 80% of the study participants. A large proportion of young adult women had low perceived susceptibility (97.6%), low threat of breast cancer (96%), and low self-efficacy to perform BSE (91.4%). BSE was conducted by 23.1% of the participants occasionally. Being married (AOR = 5.31, 95% CI = 2.19-12.90), having good outcome expectations of BSE (AOR = 2.05, 95% CI = 1.16-3.61), having good BSE knowledge (AOR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.04-1.45), having high perceived susceptibility (AOR = 1.12, 95% CI = 1.05-1.20), high perceived severity (AOR = 1.78, 95% CI = 1.02-3.09), and having high self-efficacy to do BSE (AOR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.01-1.09) were all significant predictors of BSE practice.

CONCLUSIONS: Young adult women were less concerned about breast cancer and had insufficient knowledge of breast cancer and breast self-examination. They have little knowledge of, confidence in, or experience with BSE. The practice of BSE was associated with increased perceived susceptibility, self-efficacy, severity, outcome expectations, and BSE knowledge. Therefore, these variables should be considered when developing educational interventions for young women.

PMID:36129946 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0274935

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