Understanding breast health awareness in an Arabic culture: qualitative study protocol

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To explore breast health awareness and the early diagnosis and detection methods of breast cancer from the perspective of women and primary healthcare providers in the Jizan region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Although there is a high incidence of advanced breast cancer in young women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there is no standardized information about breast self-examination, or is there a national screening programme involving clinical breast examination and mammography available.


Qualitative exploratory study.


Data collection will consist of 36 face-to-face semi-structured interviews: 12 with general practitioners; 12 with nurses at primary healthcare centres and with 12 women who attend the health centres. This study will be carried out in eight states across the Jizan region (four rural and four urban) to reflect the cultural diversity of Jizan. The data will be analysed using thematic content analysis. Research Ethics Committee approval was obtained in June 2015.


While we understand the enablers and barriers to breast health awareness outside of Saudi culture, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, particularly in rural populations such as Jizan, there is a lack of research. This study will add positively to the international knowledge base of this topic. The findings will give evidence and inform policy about women and healthcare providers' experiences in Jizan, in a society where such topics are taboo.

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