Background: The low breast cancer survivorship in India compared to developed countries has been found to be attributed to late detection. Breast self-examination (BSE) still remains a viable screening option among poor and marginalised communities. We conducted the present study to determine breast cancer awareness and practice of BSE and their determinants among urban underprivileged women.
Methods: We conducted this cross-sectional study in an urban underprivileged area in Bangalore city in early 2020, among women aged 25 years or more. Our sample size was estimated as 714 subjects. The interview schedule included Breast Cancer Awareness Measure We employed chi-square test for associations and logistic regression analysis for adjusted odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals.
Results: Out of the 751 women, 60.3% were not aware of any symptoms and 61.1% were not aware of any risk factors of breast cancer. Only 6% had heard of BSE and 3.4% reported performing BSE in the past year. The practice of BSE was found to be more prevalent among women who were aware of at least one symptom [OR=6.8(2.5-18.2), p <0.001] or one risk factor [OR=12.9(3.9- 43.6), p <0.001] of breast cancer and among those with past attendance at a breast cancer screening camp [OR=31.4(13.3-74.1),p <0.001].
Conclusion: Poor awareness concerning breast cancer and woefully inadequate practice of BSE among urban underprivileged women highlights the requirement for targeted interventions in such communities. The importance of awareness of breast cancer as a precursor to practice BSE was evident in our study, which emphasizes the need for increased access to quality and credible health information. This study emphasizes the importance of community-based programming, like breast cancer screening camps, in order to improve practice of BSE.