Introduction Breast Cancer is the second common cancer among women in India and nearly 21% of the women, who develop the disease, die within the first year of diagnosis. Lack of awareness and facilities for early detection and treatment are some of the reasons for this. The rural field Practice area of a tertiary care teaching hospital is the setting for this study wherein a community based intervention was initiated to promote breast cancer screening among rural women. The study also tried to identify the awareness, perceptions & attitude towards breast cancer & mammography use among these women.
Methods Breast cancer educational sessions were conducted by trained health workers. Women were later contacted at their homes and invited to attend a CBE and mammography at the tertiary care centre at no cost. Those willing were provided transportation as well as assistance to attend the screening session.
Results A total of 599 women were screened over a span of 2 years (response rate −85%). Most of the participants were in the 40–50 age group (59.8%). Seventy nine per cent were unaware regarding the risk factors for breast cancer and nearly 60% were not aware of any breast cancer screening methods. Only 16% had heard of mammography earlier. Anxiety, pain and cost factor were some of the perceived barriers for mammography.
Conclusion In spite of poor awareness regarding breast cancer & it's screening modalities participation was encouraging, demonstrating that a targeted intervention could bring about the required health seeking behaviour.
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