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Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, behaviour and breast cancer screening practices in Ghana, West Africa

Opoku, S.Y. (2007). Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, behaviour and breast cancer screening practices in Ghana, West Africa. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


Breast cancer is both the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer related death among women around the world. The incidence of the disease is generally considered higher among women in the developed countries than the developing countries; however, the mortality rates for women in the developing countries meet or exceed those of the developed world, indicating poorer prognosis (Pannuti et al., 2000; WHO, 2000; IARC, 2001; IARC, 2002; Anderson et al., 2003; Tannerberger et al., 2004). Ghanaian women, like many other women from the developing countries, have a low participation rate in breast cancer screening services. As a result, the disease is commonly diagnosed at late stages leading to a poor outcome with high mortality rates. Efforts toward reducing the mortality from breast cancer should be focused on implementing cost-effective public health strategies to improve early detection and appropriate treatment (Pannuti et al., 2000; WHO, 2000; IARC, 2001; IARC, 2002; Anderson et al., 2003, Tannerberger et al., 2004). The main objective of the study was to assess breast cancer related knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, behaviour and screening practices among Ghanaian women in the study areas. Investigating an issue such as the knowledge, attitude, belief and breast cancer screening practices is of great importance, not only in identifying obstacles to participation in breast screening and treatment, but also to guide the development of future health promotion programmes to improve breast cancer care in Ghana. The study was conducted in two phases, in Accra and Sunyani, both in Ghana. The first phase involved a total of 474 Ghanaian women aged between 40 and 70 years. Data collection was initially accomplished by using researcher-administered questionnaires, designed to obtain relevant socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices towards breast cancer (Appendix iii pagel69). The questionnaire was pre-tested in a pilot study in Accra on 68 women before the major study. The second phase was accomplished by semi-structured interviews conducted on 10 breast cancer patients, 10 breast clinic attenders, 2 traditional healers and 3 Consultants, involved in breast cancer management in Ghana. Transcripts of the interviews appear in Appendices iv-vii page 178-231). Characteristics of the subjects that participated in the study are covered in the first part of the findings. The majority of the women who participated in the first phase, (49.2%) were between the ages of 40 - 45 years (table 6: 3: 2a page54). With regards to the education of the respondents, it was observed that in sum 85.9% of the respondents (table 6: 3: 3 page57) had received some level of education. On employment, the vast majority of respondents (74.3%) were engaged in the informal sector, 14.2% in the formal sector and 11.5% unemployed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: R Medicine
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
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