Breast Cancer in Southern Saudi Arabia: Prevalence, Risk Factors and Attitude
Author(s): Maha Ahmed Alamodi Alghamdi*
Background: Breast cancer is the most common neoplastic change in women worldwide. The lifetime risk of breast cancer is one in five. Mammography-based screening estimates that 5.8 per 1000 Saudi women aged >40 years have breast cancer. Breast cancer affects Saudi women at an early age compared to developed countries. Most cases are detected at later stages, leading to lower rates of complete, sustained remission. The recovery rate of early detected cases may exceed 90%. This study aims to estimate the prevalence and risk factors of breast cancer among women in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, public knowledge regarding breast cancer is assessed. Materials & Methods: A total sample of 496 female school teachers aged between 22 and 64 years working in primary, intermediate, and secondary schools from the Aseer region was evaluated by a questionnaire after taking their informed consent. School teachers were selected by a multistage random sampling method. Data were collected via a structured questionnaire containing elements on demographics, knowledge regarding the value of self- and clinical breast examination and screening mammography. Approval from the Research Ethical Committee at King Khalid University was obtained and conducted after approval. Collected data were subjected to statistical analysis. Results: A total sample of 496 female school teachers aged between 22 and 64 years were involved in the study. Mean age was 37.6 ± 10.1 (range: 15-64) years, 76% were married, and the median number of children among married participants was 3 (Interquartile range: 2-5) children. Mean age at menarche and birth of first child were 13.1 ± 2.1 and 24.5 ± 4.7 years, respectively. A total of 56% of women reported history of breastfeeding, 38% used oral contraceptive pills, 32% were obese, and 3% were smokers. About two third (73%) of participants reported that they will visit doctor if they notice a lump or anything abnormal during the examination of breast. Majority of the participants (62%) were agreed that clinical examination of the breast must be done before doctor. Additionally, 67% reported knowledge of how to perform breast self-examination. Self-examination was taught by healthcare providers in 82% of cases. Participants said that the age at which BSE should be done at puberty (21%), after 20 years (21%), after 30 years (31%) and 27% said they do not know. Conclusions: Among this sample of middle-aged women, awareness of breast cancer and the value of self- and clinical breast examination is high. Nevertheless, a minority of patients reported never examining their breast for masses. Future studies should focus on improving early detection of breast cancer.