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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8-12

Knowledge, attitude, and practice of breast self-examination among female teachers from selected secondary schools in Ogbomosho, Oyo State

Bioresourses Development Centre, National Biotechnology Department Agency, Ogbomoso, Oyo, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication20-Dec-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mutiu A Alabi
Bioresourses Development Centre, National Biotechnology Department Agency, Ogbomoso, Oyo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/njecp.njecp_4_18

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Background: Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of death in women. This research was conducted to obtain the information related to knowledge, attitude, and practice of breast self-examination (BSE) among female teachers in some selected secondary schools in Ogbomosho. Materials and Methods: Questionnaires were administered to 173 female teachers in some selected secondary schools in Ogbomosho to obtain information on their demographic data, knowledge of BSE, attitude to BSE, and practice of BSE. The teachers were selected randomly in ten public secondary schools in Ogbomosho. Results: Knowledge of BSE among female secondary school teachers studied in this survey revealed that of 173 respondents, 124 (71.7%) have heard of BSE before. While 103 (59.5%) of the respondents perceive to know how to perform BSE, 73 (42.2%) actually perform it. However, only 11 (15.1%) of those who perform BSE have ever felt lump in their breast. After which, they visit hospital for the diagnosis. Conclusion: This study revealed good knowledge (set of experiences, skills, or insight) and awareness (perception of knowledge using of that knowledge) of breast cancer BSE among the respondents. It is, however, necessary to educate female teachers on proper BSE examination and how to effectively educate and inform their female students. If teachers are adequately educated on breast cancer and BSE, they can transfer the knowledge to their female students.

Keywords: Attitude, breast cancer, breast self-examination, female teachers, knowledge, practice

How to cite this article:
Alabi MA, Abubakar A, Olowokere T, Okeyode AA, Mustapha K, Ayoola SA. Knowledge, attitude, and practice of breast self-examination among female teachers from selected secondary schools in Ogbomosho, Oyo State. Niger J Exp Clin Biosci 2018;6:8-12

How to cite this URL:
Alabi MA, Abubakar A, Olowokere T, Okeyode AA, Mustapha K, Ayoola SA. Knowledge, attitude, and practice of breast self-examination among female teachers from selected secondary schools in Ogbomosho, Oyo State. Niger J Exp Clin Biosci [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Jun 17];6:8-12. Available from: http://www.njecbonline.org/text.asp?2018/6/1/8/248006

  Introduction Top

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Nigeria and in the world[1],[2],[3],[4],[5] and the second leading cause of death among women.[4],[6] Over 42 million Nigerians will have cancer by 2020, part of which breast cancer would have the highest prevalence and growing death rate among women. It has been estimated that the rate of incidence of breast cancer in Nigerian women doubles yearly.[7] The prevalence of breast cancer in Nigeria is 116/100,000.[8]

Although the big factor implicated in breast cancer is estrogen and contraceptives with a lot of estrogens,[9] the high incidence rate could also be attributed to the indiscriminate and mindless exposure of women to unnecessary radiation and chest X-rays being used indiscriminately for girls seeking admission into schools of higher institutions and colleges.[10] While the mean age of occurrence of breast cancer ranged between 43 and 50 years across the zone in Nigeria, the youngest age recorded, however, was 16 years.[11]

Diagnosis of breast cancer at an earlier stage of the disease helps women for more treatment choices and greater chance of long-term survival.[12] Screening mammography that is recommended for early detection of breast cancer cannot be routinely applied in countries that lack health service resources.[13] Hence, regular performance of breast self-examinations (BSEs) can help women detect breast cancer early, prevent the disease, and improve survival as it does not have financial implication.[6],[14],[15],[16]

Teachers are in a good position to act as positive role models for students, parents, and the community. A teacher who is on a personal journey to wellness – including healthy habits such as healthy eating and regular physical activity – can have a good influence on the health of students and others. Research has shown that student motivation and attitude toward school are closely linked to student–teacher relationships. Enthusiastic teachers are particularly good at creating beneficial relations with their students.[17] Thus, female school teachers may play an important role in health education by helping female students develop a healthy behavior such as BSE. In health education, students should gain an understanding and appreciation of healthy lifestyles that promote lifelong well-being.[13]

This research work was carried out to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice of female teachers to BSE. It is assumed that if teachers are knowledgeable of this, it will go a long way in assisting female students alike since teachers are likely to pass the information unto them even if they do not visit hospitals.

  Materials and Methods Top

Study design

This research work was a cross-sectional survey among female teachers of some selected secondary schools in Ogbomosho township of Oyo state and was conducted between 2014 and 2015.

Sampling technique

Self-administered questionnaires were used in this survey. The questionnaire was designed to assess the information such as demographic data of respondents, knowledge of BSE, attitude to BSE, and practice of BSE. Every female participant who was randomly selected gave her consent and was, thereafter, given questionnaire while been assured of confidentiality of their data.

Data analysis

The data analysis was carried out using simple percentage. The results were presented in tabular form.

  Results Top

In this study, a total of 173 female teachers were sampled for survey, and their demographic data [Table 1] revealed that 68 (39.31%) of the respondents were between 41 and 50 years while over 50% were below 40 years and <10% were above 50 years. The results showed that 135 (78%) of the respondents were married while the remaining 43 (22%) were single, separated, divorced, or widowed accounting for 31 (17.9%), 1 (0.6%), 2 (1.2%), and 4 (2.3%), respectively. Furthermore, 32 (18.5%) respondents were NCE holders while 141 (81.5%) were B. Sc./B. Ed. holders. Twenty-nine (16.8%) respondents have their relatives with breast cancer while 144 (83.2%) do not have any relative with breast cancer.
Table 1: Demographic data of respondents

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Assessing the knowledge of BSE of respondents [Table 2] showed that 153 (88.44%) and 124 (71.68%) respondents have heard of breast cancer and BSE, respectively, many of which (55.56%) got the information through health workers. Furthermore, 103 (59.54%) respondents know how to perform BSE while 73 (42.20%) actually perform it. However, among those who performed BSE, only 11 (15.07%) of them have felt lump in their breast and all of them reported accordingly at the hospital. Majority of the respondents (61.29%) are of the opinion that BSE awareness among females is not adequate.
Table 2: Knowledge of breast self-examination

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Attitude and practice of respondents toward BSE [Table 3] indicated that 146 respondents (84.39%) believed that BSE is necessary while only 124 (71.68%) of them have done BSE before. From among those who have practiced BSE before, 29 (34.94%) felt that BSE is embarrassing, 21 (25.3%) said that it is crude and disgusting, while the remaining 33 (39.8%) believed that it is very painful. Furthermore, from among those who have not done BSE before, 21 (42.86%) do not know how to perform BSE, 11 (22.45%) think that it is not important, 9 (18.37%) do not believe that it is of any importance, while 8 (16.33%) were scared of being diagnosed of breast cancer.
Table 3: Attitude and practice of breast self-examination

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The level of practices of BSE among the respondents [Table 4] showed that 38.72% performed BSE between 1 and 6 times and 32.95% did for between 7 and 12 times in a year. 63.71% of the respondents started BSE after 19 years. 56.45% performed BSE in the previous month before the survey, and 51.61% performed BSE at home.
Table 4: Level of practice of breast self-examination

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  Discussion Top

The significance of BSE has been reported by several authors as a means of early detection of breast cancer.[18],[19] Majority of the respondents in this study had the knowledge of breast cancer and BSE. This is a good thing as they are in close contact with female students, many of which have attained puberty, thus providing the female students with formal and nonformal education in health-related issues during their educational training.[16]

More than average of the female teachers has the knowledge of BSE with less than average knowing the correct frequency and timing of BSE. Similar finding was obtained in separate studies carried out on nurses in Nigeria and Turkey.[13],[18],[20]

The importance of age in the rate of practice BSE is contentious. Some studies found a negative relationship between age and BSE, while others reported a positive association between age and BSE.[21],[22],[23] In alternative study, no differences were detected between age and the BSE frequency.[24] There are a higher number of female teachers who started performing BSE below the age of 19 years in the present study.

Positive associations have been demonstrated between educational level and BSE frequency and practice although one study found no difference between educational groups in the frequency of BSE.[21],[25] However, it is interesting to note that less than half of the female teachers in this study performed BSE.

It has been reported that most female physicians and nurses (65% and 70%, respectively) believed that BSE was unnecessary.[26] However, the finding of 84.39% of the female teachers in this study who believed that BSE is necessary is in agreement with a study reporting that only 6% of female physicians believed that BSE was unnecessary.[27]

Occurrence of breast cancer is more prevalent in women but rarely in men. People do not understand the fact that men also possess breast tissue and can transform into cancer. A male individual in 100 cases in a study conducted in Nigeria was reported of having breast cancer.[28] The finding that some of the female teachers did not practice BSE suggests that there is a need for continuing education programs to change attitude and behavior toward BSE. Since the main reason provided was forgetfulness and “I don't know how to perform it,” they may have difficulty in motivating the general population to perform BSE.

  Conclusion Top

This study revealed good knowledge and awareness of breast cancer BSE among the respondents. It is, however, necessary to continue to educate the teachers on proper BSE examination and how to effectively educate and inform their female students. A large number of females who may be vulnerable to breast cancer pass through the school and are unaware of this deadly disease because they rarely visit the hospitals. If teachers are adequately educated on breast cancer and BSE, they can transfer the knowledge to their female students.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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