ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF BREAST SELF EXAMINATION AMONG FRESH FEMALE STUDENTS IN MALAYSIA
Breast self examination is a monthly examination a woman can perform by herself to check for breast cancer, breast self examination is cheap and not painful, however it is dependent on the knowledge and attitude of women and young girls towards it. This study was carried out to assess the knowledge of breast self examination among fresh female students in the University of Benin.
A sample size of two hundred students was drawn from the population of study. A questionnaire was developed and used for collection of data. The data was analysed using frequency counts and percentages.
The findings revealed that there is a high level of awareness of breast cancer and breast self examination among the fresh students , the knowledge of BSE is inadequate among the students and the knowledge of the symptoms of breast cancer to watch out for during BSE is also inadequate. It was recommended among other things that curriculum planners should include the teaching of breast self examination in senior secondary school health education curriculum and workshops and training should be organized for teachers to enable them give adequate information to the students.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent cancer in the world among women. It is considered as the world’s leading cause of cancer deaths among women. Today studies have shown that one in every eight women is likely to develop breast cancer at some point in their life (Isara and Ojedokun, 2011). Although breast cancer usually develops in after the age of 45, the age range has rapidly decreased and younger women in their early 20s are beginning to develop the disease. Cancer in younger women are generally more aggressive and can result in low survival rates making early detection to be very important.
Most of the deaths from breast cancer are accounted for in developing countries due to lack of early detection programs, lack of adequate diagnosis and treatment facilities. This deficiency has led to many women presenting the disease in the late stages which provides very few chances of survival.
The two components of early detection of breast cancer are health education to promote early diagnosis and screening (Isara and Ojedokun, 2011). Early diagnosis makes women to have more treatment options and a chance of long term survival. This can be done with the use of breast self examination (BSE), clinical breast self examination (CBE) and mammogram. In developing countries, BSE is seen to be a simple inexpensive, non-invasive and non-hazardous intervention that also encourage women to take responsibility for their health (Narimah 1999).
The practice of breast self examination has been suggested as part of the health promotion strategies that can help women and young girls to be familiar with there breast, its structure and how their normal breast should feel like, thereby increasing their sensitivity to detect any abnormalities in their breast. Breast self examination is cheap and not painful, however it is dependent on the knowledge and attitude of women and young girls towards it.
Adolescence is a transition period between childhood and adulthood and during this period significant changes occur in the body. Studies in Nigeria have shown that women and young girls have poor knowledge of breast cancer and its risk factors (Salaudeen, Akande and Musa, 2009). The adolescence period is a time that provides teaching opportunities for shaping health behaviors into adulthood. Most of the fresh undergraduate students are adolescents that need to be taught the importance of breast self examination and how to practice it in order to encourage positive behaviors towards BSE and seeking professional help when needed.
The need to assess the knowledge of breast self examination among fresh female students is to promote breast cancer awareness, self-care (an attitude that is fostered early in life) and change the behavior if students towards breast self examination through health education.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Breast cancer which is an increasing cause of death amongst women around the world can be detected early enough through regular breast self examination. Despite the measures put in place to detect the disease at the early stage, the prevalence and late detection of breast cancer is still on the increase. Breast self examination can only be practice regularly if the people are aware of the disease, the importance of breast self examination and how to perform it.
Are the undergraduate students aware of breast cancer and breast self examination?
Are the fresh students knowledgeable about how and when to examine their breast breast for breast cancer lump?
What is the level of their knowledge if the symptoms of breast cancer?
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study therefore is to assess the level of knowledge of breast self examination among fresh female students of the University of Benin.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It will enable curriculum planners to know what should be in the secondary school health education curriculum.
It would help health education teachers to device health education materials and manuals that would improve the the teaching strategies for breast self examination.
DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study was limited to the fresh female undergraduate students of the University of Benin, Benin City. Where the researcher is familiar with the environment and is likely to gain access to the population to be studied.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
It was difficult to make generalization from the findings of the study because of the sample size, as the researcher was not able to utilize all members of the population of study.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Breast self examination: This refers to a monthly examination a woman can do by herself to check for a lump or signs of breast cancer. It involves manual palpitation of the breast while standing ir lying down.
Breast cancer: It is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells that forms a tumor in the breast.