Objective: To assess level and determinants of knowledge about risk factors and utilization of screening methods used for breast cancer early detection among adult Saudi women in Al Hassa, KSA.
Study design: cross-sectional descriptive.
Participants and methods: A total of 1,315 Saudi adult females were included, selected through a multistage stratified sampling method from ten primary health care centers. No previous history of breast cancer, attendance for routine services or accompanying patients were prerequisites for eligibility. Participants were invited to personal interview with pre-tested validated questionnaire including inquiries regarding knowledge, screening practices including clinical breast examination (CBE), mammography, individual breast cancer risk factors and perceived barriers towards (CBE). Both descriptive and inferential statistics were applied; logistic regression was conducted to determine the possible correlates of knowledge.
Results: Overall level of knowledge regarding risk factors and appropriate screening was low and dependent upon educational and occupational status. Early screening is underutilized among participants due to several perceived barriers. Clinical breast examinations were employed by less than 5% and mammography by only 3% of cases. A positive family history was found in 18% of cases among first and second degree relatives, and 2 % had a prior history of benign breast lesions.
Conclusion: Included women, irrespective of their educational status, had knowledge deficits regarding breast cancer risk factors and underutilization of the recommended breast cancer screening. Several barriers are contributing to such knowledge deficits and screening behavior.