Original Research

Knowledge of breast self-examination in women in Sierra Leone

J.H.E.E. Shepherd, P.A. Mclnerney
Curationis | Vol 30, No 4 | a1115 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v30i4.1115 | © 2007 J.H.E.E. Shepherd, P.A. Mclnerney | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2007 | Published: 28 September 2007

About the author(s)

J.H.E.E. Shepherd, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
P.A. Mclnerney, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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This research is a follow up of a Breast Week which was organized in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The specific objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the knowledge and teachings given to the women who participated in this project. A quantitative approach with an exploratory descriptive design was adopted and an observational checklist guided the data collection process. A sample size of 120 women (10%) who participated in the Breast Week was obtained through systematic sampling. During the Breast Week women were taught how to examine their breasts using breast self-examination (BSE) to detect abnormalities of the breasts. This study was undertaken one year later by the researcher to ascertain whether the information on breast self-examination provided during the Breast Week was being utilised and whether what was taught was being put into use. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 11.5. Reliability and validity were ensured through the use of a structured observational checklist and a pilot study was undertaken. The observations were all observed and recorded by the same researcher. The majority of the 120 women (91.7%) stated that they had never practiced BSE before the Breast Week. After receiving health education on BSE, 95% were able to demonstrate an effective method of undertaking BSE. It is thus recommended that every opportunity should be utilized in health care settings to teach BSE and to reinforce the practice, especially in poverty stricken countries where other forms of screening methods are unavailable.


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