Low Awareness of Breast Cancer and Considerable Barriers to Early Presentation Among Saudi Women at a Primary Care Setting
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In Saudi Arabia, breast cancer is diagnosed at advanced stage compared to Western countries. Nevertheless, the perceived barriers to delayed presentation have been poorly examined. Additionally, available breast cancer awareness data are lacking validated measurement tool. The aim of this study is to evaluate the level of breast cancer awareness and perceived barriers to seeking medical care among Saudi women, using internationally validated tool. A cross-sectional study was conducted among adult Saudi women attending a primary care center in Riyadh during February 2014. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaire based on the Breast Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM-breast). Out of 290 women included, 30 % recognized five or more (out of nine) non-lump symptoms of breast cancer, 31 % correctly identified the risky age of breast cancer (set as 50 or 70 years), 28 % reported frequent (at least once a month) breast checking. Considering the three items of the CAM-breast, only 5 % were completely aware while 41 % were completely unaware of breast cancer. The majority (94 %) reported one or more barriers. The most frequently reported barrier was the difficulty of getting a doctor appointment (39 %) followed by worries about the possibility of being diagnosed with breast cancer (31 %) and being too busy to seek medical help (26 %). We are reporting a major gap in breast cancer awareness and several logistic and emotional barriers to seeking medical care among adult Saudi women. The current findings emphasized the critical need for an effective national breast cancer education program to increase public awareness and early diagnosis.
KeywordsAwareness Barriers Breast cancer Primary care Saudi Arabia
Prof. Riaz Qureshi, Dr. Noura AL-Rowais, Dr. Raba’a AL-Momen, Dr. Salwa Tayel, and Dr. Amna Siddiqui.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The study obtained all required ethical approvals from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of King Saud University.
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