n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Breast cancer knowledge and breast self-examination practice among rural and urban women in Zambia

Volume 9 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


The purpose of this study was to compare breast cancer knowledge and the use of breast self-examination as a breast cancer screening tool among rural and urban women in the reproductive age group (15-49 years) in the rural and urban areas of Zambia.

The study sites were located in the Solwezi rural district and Lusaka urban districts in Zambia. A total of 238 women participated in the study.
The findings revealed that 82 percent of the respondents in the rural area and 58 percent of women in the urban area had no knowledge of breast cancer. It was also found that 95 percent of the respondents in the rural and 95 percent of respondents in the urban areas did not practise breast self-examination. The most common reasons given by women for not practising breast self-examination were lack of knowledge on how to do it (65 percent of rural and 55 percent of urban women), the perception that it was not important to do breast self-examination (30 percent of urban and 27.5 percent of rural women) and that they did not perceive themselves as being at risk of getting breast cancer (15 percent of urban and 8 percent of rural women). These findings show that there is a need for nurses to design an educational programme to sensitise women on the dangers of breast cancer and the importance of early diagnosis through the use of breast self-examination.

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