Medical Journal of Malaysia

MJM, Vol 70 Supplement 1 September 2015

Knowledge of breast cancer and breast self-examination practise among female undergraduate students in public universities in Klang Valley, Malaysia

Latiffah A Latiff*, Mehrnoosh Akhtari-Zavare*, Muhamad Hanafiah Juni**, Salmiah Md Said**

*Cancer Resource & Education Center, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Selangor, **Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine & Health Science, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Selangor


Introduction: Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second principal cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide, including Malaysia. Even though breast self-examination (BSE) is not seen as a relevant cancer-screening tool anymore, it still plays an important role in the breast health awareness programme.

Method: A cross-sectional study was carried out to determine knowledge on breast cancer and breast self-examination (BSE) practices of 792 female undergraduate students in selected public universities in Klang Valley, Malaysia. A multi-stage sampling method was adopted and data were collected via a validated questionnaire, which was developed for this study.

Results: The mean age of respondents was 21.7±1.2 years. Most of them were single (96.8%), Malay (91.9%) and 150 (19.6%) claimed they had practiced BSE. This study showed low level of knowledge on risk factors of breast cancer 394 (49.7%), symptoms of breast cancer 496 (62.6%) and breast self-examination 397(50.1%) among participants. Knowledge of breast cancer was significantly associated with BSE practice (p<0.01). Also, there were significant association between performing BSE with age, marital status and trained by doctor for doing BSE (p˂0.05). Logistic regression analysis indicated that women who had trained by doctor 1.96 (95%CI: 1.32-2.91) and women who had knowledge of breast cancer 1.15 (95% CI: 1.06-1.25) were more likely to practice BSE.

Conclusions: Overall our findings indicate that Malaysian young female’s knowledge regarding breast cancer and the practice of BSE is inadequate. A public health education program is essential to improve breast cancer prevention among young Malaysian female.

Keywords: Breast cancer, Breast self-examination, knowledge, Malaysia