Original Research

Knowledge of breast cancer in women in Sierra Leone

JHEE Shepherd, PA Mclnerney
Curationis | Vol 29, No 3 | a1105 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v29i3.1105 | © 2006 JHEE Shepherd, PA Mclnerney | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2006 | Published: 28 September 2006

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JHEE Shepherd, School of Nursing, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
PA Mclnerney, School of Nursing, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Breast cancer has been described as one of the life-threatening diseases affecting women and is a major problem in women’s health issues. The unrecorded number of cases of breast lumps and breast cancer observed in women in Sierra Leone prompted the researcher to organize a “Breast Week” during which 1 200 women were educated on breast cancer and the importance of breast health. This research is a follow up of the “Breast Week” which was organized in Freetown, Sierra Leone The specific objective of this study was to assess whether the knowledge and teachings given to the women who participated in this project was fully understood. A sample size of 120 women (10%) who participated in the “Breast Week” was obtained through systematic sampling.
A quantitative approach was adopted and a structured interview schedule guided the data collection process. The data were processed through use of SPSS and Microsoft Excel. Texts from open ended questions were categorized and frequency counts were applied to the data. It was found that the majority (96.6%) of the women had some knowledge of breast cancer. They linked breast cancer to the signs and symptoms associated with it and were able to describe the disease as one that kills women if not promptly detected and/or treated appropriately. Findings indicate that the majority of the women are aware of the dangers of the disease and had knowledge of someone who had died of breast cancer (59.2%). An assessment of the effectiveness of knowledge on breast cancer showed that these women could identify breast cancer as a disease that affects women and may cause death if not detected on time.


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