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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 268-274

Breast cancer awareness and the prevalence of breast cancer risk factors and warning signs among women in Aleppo, Syria: A cross-sectional study

1 Department of Pathology, Aleppo University Hospital, Aleppo, Syria
2 Medical Intern, Faculty of Medicine, University of Aleppo, Aleppo, Syria
3 Department of Gastroenterology, Aleppo University Hospital, Aleppo, Syria
4 Department of Oncology, Aleppo University Hospital, Aleppo, Syria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anwar Chammout
Zain Douba, Aleppo; Ahmad Alhamid, Aleppo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijhas.IJHAS_251_20

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BACKGROUND: Breast cancer (BC) is classified as the most prevalent cancer worldwide. The incidence and prevalence of BC in Syria are not determined but expected to be high. Lack of awareness toward BC leads to higher incidence and mortality. There are no studies measuring BC awareness in Syria. Our study aims to evaluate BC awareness and attitudes, the obstacles preventing women from receiving BC-related medical care, and the prevalence of BC warning signs and risk factors among women in Aleppo. METHODS: A cross-sectional, survey-based study was conducted during August 2019 in Aleppo, Syria. Participants were randomly recruited from multiple health-care and social facilities. We targeted adult females aged and avoided current or previous cancer patients and the visitor of oncology and pathology departments. The questionnaire had six main sections: (1) demographic characteristics; (2) knowledge of basic symptomatology and epidemiology of BC; (3) similar previous symptoms that the participant ever experienced; (4) attitude and behavior related to BC screening; (5) obstacles from seeking medical consultation related to BC, and (6) the prevalence of some BC risk factors among participants. RESULTS: BC awareness levels are disappointing. About 9.3% of the participants are confident that they have not ever heard of BC, and only 0.4% know the age-related risk of BC. About 8.7% of the respondents never or rarely self-examine their breasts, and only 10% of the 40 years or older participants screened for BC by the mammogram. Emotional barriers, especially feeling scared about what the doctor might find, were the main barriers preventing women from seeking medical help related to BC. Lack of enough physical activity and smoking headed the list of the prevalent risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: BC awareness levels in Aleppo-Syria are worrying. It is recommended to launch more awareness campaigns, with a concentration on the weak points in women's knowledge.

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