Objectives: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Qatar. Despite the sustained efforts to increase breast cancer public awareness via campaigns and public screening programmes, breast cancer screening rate remains low. The involvement of community pharmacists in the communication and distribution of breast cancer screening information should have a significant positive impact. The objectives of this study were to determine the degree of community pharmacists' involvement in breast cancer health promotion activities in Qatar, to explore their attitudes towards the involvement in breast cancer health promotion, to assess their breast cancer knowledge, to gauge their interest in receiving breast cancer continuous education and to list their perceived barriers for including breast cancer health promotion activities into their daily practice.
Setting: Community pharmacies in Qatar.
Method: The study objectives were addressed in a cross-sectional survey of all community pharmacists in Qatar.
Main outcome measures: The extent of community pharmacists' involvement in breast cancer health promotion activities, the community pharmacists' interest and comfort in providing breast cancer health promotion, their breast cancer knowledge, their interest in receiving breast cancer continuous education, their attitudes and beliefs towards breast cancer health promotion and their perceived barriers for integrating breast cancer heath promotion activities into their daily practice.
Results: Over a 12-week period, we collected 195 surveys (60% response rate). Eighty-eight percent indicated that they never invited healthcare professionals to provide breast cancer education in the pharmacy, 78% said that they never distributed breast cancer educational materials, and 58% reported that they never counseled patients about breast cancer. Nevertheless, more than 60% were highly interested in being engaged in breast cancer health promotion activities. In addition, 87% believed that discussing breast cancer awareness with female patients in the pharmacy was beneficial to patients. Yet pharmacists perceived many barriers for integrating breast cancer health promotion into their daily practice including lack of educational materials (79%) and lack of public recognition (61%). Moreover, their breast cancer knowledge mean score was 63% with 77% expressing a high interest in receiving breast cancer continuous education.
Conclusion: Despite their low involvement in breast cancer health promotion, the majority of pharmacists were interested in educating patients about breast cancer. However, low breast cancer knowledge and other barriers can prevent actualizing this role. Further work should focus on providing these pharmacists with breast cancer continuous education and overcoming all stated barriers.