Rural Women's Perception of Breast Cancer and its Early-detection Measures in Ibadan, Nigeria

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Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women in many parts of the world and is the most common cancer in women in Nigeria. However, it lends itself to early detection and, subsequently, early treatment, if women use early-detection measures. It is pertinent to study rural women's perception of breast cancer and its early-detection measures because their perception would influence their use of early-detection measures of breast cancer. This is a descriptive study that assessed rural women's perception of breast cancer. Data from 2 rural health districts in Ibadan, Oyo state of Nigeria, were collected through a structured questionnaire. Four hundred seven women were randomly selected for the study. Results showed that 66.2% of the respondents considered that breast cancer is more severe than other forms of cancer. Respondents' perception of risk of developing breast cancer was low, as 64.8% rated themselves 1, on a scale of 1 to 9 (where 1 = does not perceive herself to have cancer; 9 = very much perceives herself to have cancer). Respondents' perceived cause of breast cancer included "putting money in brassiere" and attack from the enemy, among others. None of the respondents identified early detection as an advantage of breast self-examination. Swelling was the most acknowledged early-warning sign. Findings of this study indicate that there is a need for an interventional study to enhance the awareness of breast cancer and its early-detection measures among the rural population to influence early detection of breast cancer and subsequently reduce morbidity and mortality among them.

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