Impact of a health education intervention program regarding breast self examination by women in a semi-urban area of Madhya Pradesh, India

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2009;10(6):1113-7.


Background: Breast cancer is the most common carcinoma in the world and the second most prevalent in Indian females. Over 0.7 million new cases of carcinoma breast are detected every year globally, with nearly 0.3 million deaths, affecting 28 per 100,000 females in the age group of 35 to 60 years. Breast self examination (BSE) can detect 40% of breast lesions. The present study aimed to assess the impact of a health education intervention program about breast self examination (BSE) among women in a semi-urban area in Madhya Pradesh, India.

Methodology: The study was carried out in three phases; pre-intervention phase, intervention phase, and post-intervention phase. A total of 1000 women were included. Interventional health education in the form of a lecture, pamphlets, flip charts and demonstration of the five step method of breast self examination using audio-visual aids was administrated.

Results: There was a significant improvement in knowledge regarding all aspects of breast self examination of the intervention group from pre- to post-test. After the intervention program, 590 (59%) women had good knowledge and among them 90.7% practiced (BSE) compared to 0% pre-test. An overall increase in the awareness of 43% and 53% of BSE practice was observed in the study group after intervention. Seven cases of breast disease were detected in which two were breast carcinoma and five were fibroadenomas.

Conclusion: The knowledge and practices of women toward breast self examination for early detection were observed to be inadequate in respondents but there was a significant improvement after the intervention. Health education programs through various channels to increase the awareness and knowledge about BSE are the need of the hour. Mass media cancer education should promote widespread access to information about early detection behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Audiovisual Aids
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Self-Examination*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Class
  • Suburban Population
  • Teaching Materials