Background: Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide. The incidence of breast cancer is growing faster in population groups that had a low incidence of the disease.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate knowledge, attitudes and practices of self-examination (BSE) in women medical students at the University of Lagos.

Method: The study was designed as a cross-sectional study of students at the Medical Faculty. The aim was to assess the state of knowledge about breast cancer, attitude and practice of BSE. A self-administered questionnaire was developed by the author of employees. Permission was granted and the confidentiality of responses was given to each respondent.

Results: The majority of respondents, 40.7% in the group 21-22 years was drawn from first to six medical students in students.97. 3% had heard of breast self-examination and examination.54.8% of respondents had heard of breast cancer on TV / radio. Most of the respondents 85.8% knew how to meet the breast self-examination properly. Only 65.4% of respondents believe that self-examination was necessary. 43.5% of respondents said the last time, when the breast self-examination less than a year ago. Most respondents prefer to 69.6% in the breast self-examination carried out in the morning, while 47.7% of respondents self-breast examination would be carried out in the mirror.

Conclusion: There was a high awareness of breast cancer and breast self-examination among the respondents. His attitude toward breast self-examination and was fair, although the practice was low.


Cancer in all its forms is responsible for about 12 percent of worldwide deaths (Park, 2002). Worldwide, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women (Leszczynskaet al, 2004;. WHO, 2006). Breast cancer caused 376 000 deaths per year worldwide, some 900,000 women are diagnosed with the disease each year (WHO, 1997).

(. Koets al, 2003) although the incidence of breast cancer in developing countries is relatively low, around 50% of all cases of breast cancer in these countries (Haji-Mahmoodiet al, 2002 diagnosed, Sadler and al .., 2001). Based on a study conducted in 1975-1990, have increased faster in Asia and Africa, annual incidence rate of breast cancer in Europe and North America (Shiraziet al., 2006).

Although mammography remains the best single diagnostic tool for detecting breast cancer is not routinely used in Nigeria because of the low level of awareness, ignorance, illiteracy, cost, high-tech skills and done. False negative mammography is higher in the younger age group, and is probably in Nigeria, where cases have been reported under the age of 30 years in large scale (Anyanwu, 2000, Wu and Yu, seen in 2003, Banjo, 2004).

There is also evidence that breast cancer is more precocious and self-discovery that most of the principles of self-discovery self-examination (BSE), artists (Okobiaet al., 2006).

Cavdaret al (2007) reported that the majority believe the doctors and nurses (65% or 70%), that BSE was not necessary, hence the need for knowledge of breast cancer, to assess attitudes and practices among the students that our be future health professionals.


The study was designed as a cross-sectional study of students at the Medical Faculty. The aim was to assess the state of knowledge about breast cancer, attitude and practice of breast self-examination (BSE).


The study was conducted in June 2010 at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Permission was granted and the confidentiality of responses was given to each respondent.

A self-administered questionnaire was developed by the author of employees. The questions were developed as part of the information about the literature of breast cancer. Other questions have been adjusted based on changes to previously used in similar studies in the country to questionnaires. The questionnaire is divided into three parts. The first part was to socio-demographic data, to achieve by age, ethnicity and marital status of each participant. Issues related to awareness of breast cancer was increased in the second half. Breast Cancer Awareness by the participants and the methods of early detection were also evaluated in this section. The third part of the evaluation questionnaire of the practice of BSE among the participants.


The data were collected with the help of descriptive statistics and chi-square with Epi-Info 2004 Series. The differences between the three variables were considered significant if the p-value less than 0.05.


The total number of questionnaires was 500 (500), but 499 were recovered. The respondents came first (17.8%), second (34.3%), third (23%), fourth (3.5%), fifth (7.4%) and sixth (13.9%) medical students students.

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Table 1: Demographic profile of respondents


Number (%)








26 and above











Marital status












Family history of breast cancer

8th 8

Relationship with Breast Cancer









Table 1 shows the demographic profile of respondents. Most respondents, 40.7% belong to 21-22 age group. Most respondents were 58.9% Yoruba, Igbo 29.4%, 2% and 9.7% were from other Hausa tribe. 95.4% of respondents are single, while 4.6% were married.

Most respondents, 85.1% were Christians, Muslims 14.7%, 0.2%, while other religions. Only 8.8% had a family history of breast cancer, most of which an aunt (53.6%) had.

Table 2: Respondents knowledge of breast cancer and breast self-examination

Breast Cancer Awareness

% Correct answers

Never heard of breast cancer?

97th 3

And "common in this environment?


It can be detected in advance?


Early detection the survival rate?


Never heard of self-examination?


How did you hear that? Home


Peer Group


TV / Radio




Who Should regarding BSE? Only for Women


Only Women


Men and women


At what age should start BSE? <19 years


> 19 years


How often do you perform BSE? Journal








What is BSE?

Feel with your fingers

13th 8

Tap the palm and a minimum of three fingers




Table 2 shows the level of breast cancer and breast self-awareness of respondents. Most respondents had heard of breast cancer and 97.3% of the breast self-examination. 80.9% of respondents know that widespread in our environment, so did 98.6%, which can be detected early and 98.2%, which increases the survival chances of early detection. 23% of respondents had heard of breast cancer at home, 24.5% had heard about in school was 54.8% of respondents from breast cancer in the TV / radio and 30, 8% have heard heard of newspapers.

Only 53.6% knew that men and women are required to perform self-examination, indicated with 54.5% of respondents said that self-breast should begin at age 19, while 45 believe, 5%, that in more build over 19 years.

Respondents also felt that self-examination every day (23.8%), a few weeks (22.5%), others should be done. (2.9%) per month (50.8%) and the annual number of the majority of respondents 85.8% knew how to perform breast self-exam correctly.

Table 3: The attitude of respondents to self help breast examination

Attitudes toward breast self-examination

% Correct

Do you believe that BSE is necessary?


BSE up to?


If so, why?

To examine their breasts regularly


Breast cancer in the family




If not, why not?

I do not know how


I do not think it is important


I do not think I touch my body like the


I do not believe in the efficacy tests

10th 0

I have no symptoms


I know I'll never have cancer


I'm afraid, diagnosed with breast cancer


Table 3 shows respondents attitudes of breast self-examination. 65.4% of respondents believe that self-examination was necessary, while 83.1% had performed self breast exam. Among those who performed breast self-exam, have 87.4% so regularly check their breasts, while 6.8% did so because they have a family history of breast cancer.

Among those who have never done a self breast examination, 46.7% not because they have no symptoms, 26.7% felt that it was not important to know 22, 6% do not like to say, 20% said they can not have cancer, 10% feel offended by the touching of the breast and not to the efficacy of the test and believe third 3% of respondents were afraid diagnosed with breast cancer.

Table 4: the practice of the respondents on self breast examination

Practice self-examination

% Correct

How many times of BSE in a year?


At what age did you start BSE? <19 years


> 19 years


When was the last time led to BSE?

Less than a week


At least three to six months


Less than a year


This time is directly run BSE? Tomorrow






Where do you usually perform BSE? Front of the mirror


In bed


In the bathroom

13th 3

Would you like to know more about BSE?


Table 4 shows the practice of breast self-respondents. Most respondents said they own 80.2% of tests regularly. 56.1% of respondents have begun to perform breast self-examination under the age of 19 years, while 43.9% as an actor in more than 19 years. 20.9% of respondents said the last time a self-test examination was less than a week, 28% took place in the last less than three to six months, while 43.5% in the past, they are less than a year.

Most respondents prefer to 69.6% in the breast self-examination in the morning and evening lead with 23.3%. 47.7% of respondents also preferred to conduct self-examination in the mirror, 36.5% prefer to bed, while 13.3% preferred to remain in the bath.

Most respondents, 93 2% were interested in more information about breast self-examination.


The age of respondents ranged from 15 years to 26 years and older with an average age of 21 years. This age model is compatible with the current 9-3-4 system of education in Nigeria. The study was appropriate in this age group because most of them were young adults need to learn more about breast cancer and self examination before they reached the age of the beginning of the joint disease, and that physicians be able in the future to educate and advise their patients effectively.

Most respondents had heard of breast cancer (97.3%) and 85.8% said that they knew (BSE) is executed, the awareness of breast cancer to be interviewed because of their field studies and training. In a similar study found that women with higher education experts were more self-critical examination of the breast, while those with primary education were less well informed (and Owoaje Balogun, 2005).

His main source of information was the radio / TV. This result is consistent with the study of the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong (1996) found that the promotion side, the media and seen on billboards in public in an effective breast cancer information. A similar observation was reported in the eastern state of Nigeria (Nwagbo and Akpala, 1996). The primary source of at least about the study of breast cancer inform the home of the respondents (23%) was. This is one of the gaps in training for the family life of parents and caregivers do not have time to discuss health with their children. It could also be due to the fact that some parents have no information or knowledge about some of these problems and as such have little or nothing to discuss (Saludeenet al., 2009).

Believe, just over half (65.4%) of respondents, it is necessary to perform breast self-examination. This shows that the degree of concern about the early detection of breast cancer low among respondents believe that their status as students of medicine and much more expected of them as future physicians.

83.1% of respondents said they had done a self breast exam before, which shows that very little attention given by the young adults in this study was to examine the early onset of breast mass and other symptoms of breast cancer, but not so regularly as nearly half (43.5%) of respondents had not seen the chest in nearly a year. In part this may, on the assumption that they are free of breast disease. Because of this ignorance is little emphasis in the answers will be placed on the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Kayode et al., 2005).


There is no need for further studies to fill gaps in knowledge about breast cancer and self-examination, so that a positive attitude can be developed breast reduction first presentation of breast cancer by young people against the breast self-examination to detect cancer.

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Anyanwu SN. Breast cancer in eastern Nigeria: A review of 10 years. West Afr J Med 2000; 19:120-5. MO Balogun andOwoaje ET. Knowledge and practice of self examination of breast-feeding amongFemale dealer Nigeria.Annals Ibadan Ibadan Postgraduate Medicine. 2005; 3:52-6. Banjo AAF. Overview of breast cancer and cervical cancer in Nigeria: Are there regional differences? Paper presented at the International Workshop on new trends in the treatment of breast and cervical cancer in Lagos, Nigeria presented. 2004th Ý ARVC, AkyolcuN, Özbaş A, D Öztekin, T and N. Akyuz Ayoğlu provision of doctors and nurses in practice and attitudes of breast self-exam in Istanbul, Turkey. Forum OncolNurs. 2007; 36:1218-21. Family Planning Association of Hong Kong. Survey on the health of women. Hong Kong Family Planning Association of Hong Kong. 1996th Haji-Mahmood M, Montazeri A, Jarvandi S, Ebrahimi M, Haghighat S and I. Harirchi breast self-examination: knowledge, attitudes and practices among the health of women in Tehran, Iran. Mama J. 2002, 8: 222-5. A Kayode, Akande TM andOsagbemi GK. Knowledge, attitudes and practices of breast self-examination in women with high school teachers in Ilorin, Nigeria. European Journal of Scientific Research. 2005, 10: 42-7. Ko CM, Sadler GR, Ryujin L Dong A Filipino American Women and breast cancer knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of choice. BMC Public Health. 2003; 15:27. Leszczynska K, K Leszczynski and G. Krajewski knowledge about prevention and early detection of breast cancer among the students of the Medical University of Lublin WiadLek. 2004, 57: 188 -91. DF Nwagbo CO andAkpala breast cancer screening and breast self-examination among urban women in Enugu, eastern Nigeria. J Med Coll. 1996, 1: 34-6. Okobia MN, Bunker CH, FE Osimo Okonofua and U. knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of Nigerian women after breast cancer: a cross-sectional study. J SurgOncol world. 2006; 21:11. Park K. In textbooks Park Social and Preventive Medicine. 17th Edition. Editor BanarsidarsBhanot Jabalpur India.2002: 285-6. Sadler GR, Ryujin LT, Ko CM Nguyen and E. Korean women: breast cancer knowledge, attitudes and behavior. BMC Public Health. 2001, 1: 7 AG Bastard, MC OI.Knowledge Musa and Akande and attitudes of breast cancer and breast self-examination among girls in a State of Nigeria. European Journal of Social Sciences. 2009, 7: 157-65. Shirazi M, Q and A. Champeau Talebi predictors for breast cancer screening among immigrant Iranian women in California. J Women Health (Larchmt). 2006, 15:485-506. WHO. Breast cancer / en / index.html (accessed 23 January 2006). World Health Organization. The World Health Report. Conquering suffering, enriching humanity, Report of the Director General. WHO, Geneva. 1997; 22 TY Wu and Y. Yu. The reliability and validity of mammography beliefs survey among Chinese American women. Cancer Nursing. 2003; 26:131-42.

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