Title : Awareness of breast cancer symptoms and risk factors among women in urban Delhi.
Breast Cancer is ranked as the number one cancer among Indian Females with very high incidence rates. The lack of knowledge among the women of urban India regarding risk factors and screening practices can cause delay in diagnosis. Estimating and improving awareness can contribute towards early diagnosis and can reduce the load of incurable breast cancers found at the time of diagnosis.
A total of 127 women were surveyed between August and September 2022 as selected through systematic random sampling, out of these 100 women were included in the final analysis after exclusion. A validated Breast Cancer awareness measure was used to analyse breast cancer awareness through a cross sectional survey in an urban resettlement colony of east Delhi. The measure was administered as a structured questionnaire with a face-to-face interview. Descriptive analysis was done on SPSS 20.0
The mean age of the participants was 36.42 years, 78% were married, 57% were housewives and 54% had high school or above educational qualifications. One fourth could recall at least one symptom of breast cancer. Breast lump (59%) was the most commonly identified symptom of breast cancer followed by pain (46%) and lump in the axilla (46%). The least commonly identified symptom of breast cancer was redness of the breast skin (18%). Only 25% of women had checked their breasts for changes. 8% reported women aged 70 years as at the highest risk of developing breast cancer while most believed the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer to be 1 in every 100 women (42%). Two thirds (65%) of women agreed that having a past history of breast cancer was a risk factor for breast cancer. Only 32% women reported having a family history of breast cancer as a risk for developing breast cancer.
The population is not adequately aware about the common symptoms and risk factors of breast cancer with very few women practicing regular breast self-examinations. The situation needs development and implementation of better awareness programmes as well as more widespread campaigns regarding cancer screening methods to improve participation. The limitations of the study are a small sample size and a limited sampling area.