Keywords: Breast Cancer, Breast Self Examination, Awareness, Medical Students
Breast cancer is the most widely diagnosed cancer in Turkey and is the second cause of death in women after lung cancer.
What is the knowledge level of medical students about breast cancer ?
Does the level of knowledge show change between the students' grades?
Do the medical student know about and perform breast-self examination?
The study is a cross-sectional study and included our faculty’s 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. A questionnaire consisting of 36 questions including sociodemographic characteristics, breast cancer risk factors, knowledge and attitudes about breast self-examination (BSE) was applied to the students between November 2020 and March 2021.
SPSS 21.0 program was used in the analysis of the data. Pearson, Fisher’s exact and chi square tests were used. A p<0.05 value was accepted for statistical significance.
The rate of students who gave right answers about BSE and breast cancer(BC) risk factors increased as they progressed through the grades (p<0.05). Also, the 5th graders answered their knowledge about BC was sufficient significantly more than the 3rd and 4th grades, and the 4th graders indicated that their knowledge about BC was sufficient significantly more than the 3rd grades (p<0.001). When the reason for not doing BSE was questioned, the 4th and 5th grades gave the answer "I don't know how to do it" more than the 4th and 5th grades, and the 4th graders gave the answer "I don't know how to do it" more than the 5th grades (p<0.05).
The rate of performing BSE increased with the students' higher grade(p<0.05).
The education about breast cancer risk factors and BSE received during school should be given to all students, not only to students studying in health departments. Structuring and implementation of self training programs is essential in order to increase awareness of BSE and to perform it regularly.
Points for discussion:
Shall family practitioners be more involved in training students and patients about breast self examination?
Family practitioners can play an important role in primary prevention of breast cancer.
Family practitioners can play an important role in the early diagnosis and follow-up of breast cancer patients.