Background: Breast cancer is the most common female malignancy and commonly associated with high levels of morbidity and mortality in developing countries due to late presentation. Breast selfâÂ€Â‘examination (BSE) can help in early detection of the disease. Aims: This study aims to determine the awareness and practice of BSE among market women in Abakailiki, Southeast Nigeria. Subjects and Methods: This crossâÂ€Â‘sectional descriptive study involved the use of questionnaire among market women in Abakaliki. Inclusion criteria were women from the age of 18 years and above who own or sell in a shop, while females less than 18 years of age and women who came to the market to buy products were excluded. Questionnaires were distributed randomly among women who met the criteria in every shop visited based on willingness to participate. Analysis was done using Epi info version 3:5:3 (Atlanta Geogia USA.2008). The association between variables was tested using Chi square for trend statistics. Significance was set at P < 0.05. Binomial logistic regression analysis was used to test for relationship between the age group categories against ever heard of BSE. Results: The age range of participants was between 20 and 65 years, with a mean age of 34.3 (10.8) years. The age range between 20 and 29 years constituted the highest age group 35.3% (84/238). Majority 54.2% (129/238) had a maximum of secondary education. Of the 238 participants, 77.7% have heard of breast cancer, of which 73.9% thought that early detection would aid treatment. Only 38.9% (6/195), 13% and 13.4% have heard of BSE, clinical breast examination and mammography, respectively. Just 23.9% have been taught how to perform BSE, while 21.8% had done it in the past. One person 0.4% knew the correct frequency of BSE, and also did it regularly. There was a statistically significant difference between the level of education and awareness of BSE. However, there was no statistical significant difference between participants age and awareness of BSE. Conclusion: There was a low level of awareness of BSE among market women in Abakiliki, and there is a need to increase the level of awareness through campaigns.
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