The purpose of this study was to investigate knowledge, attitudes and practices of women toward breast self-examination and to identify factors that may influence compliance with breast examination. The subjects for this study were 282 women in three hospitals located in In-Chun. Data were collected during the period from October 15 to 30, 1993 by means of a structured questionnaire. The data were analyzed using the SAS program and include descriptive statistics, 1-test, ANOVA, Pearson correlation coefficient and stepwise multiple regression. The results of study are as follows : 1. The mean knowledge score for the total sample was 13.58. Factors affecting the women's knowledge of breast cancer and BSE were : age, level of education, experience with breast cancer patients, experience in learning BSE, information about BSE, self-practice of BSE, level of intention to perform BSE, and participation in a BSE class. 2. Elements related to attitude included : (a) perceived feeling of susceptibility to breast cancer, and (b) belief about the effectiveness of BSE. The mean perceived susceptibility score was 1.62 and the mean effectiveness score was 4.22. Factors affecting the women's perceived susceptibility to breast cancer were exercise for health, level of intention to perform BSE , intention to recommend to others and self-practice of BSE. The relation between the womens' belief about effectiveness of BSE and level of intention to perform BSE and intention to recommend to others were statistically significant. 3. The mean self-practice score for the total sample was 4.01. Factors affecting the women's practice were experience with breast cancer patients, information about BSE, experience in learning BSE, enlisting the help of significant peers, and level of intention to perform BSE. Results indicated 35.8% of the total sample practiced BSE. The most frequent reason women gave for not performing BSE was “Didn’t knew about BSE technique”, “Didn’t think do it”. 4. No relation was found between knowledge and attitudes and practices. 5. When all the variables were examined for their contribution to the variance in the practice of BSE, it was found that confidence in ability to detect a mass by BSE, knowledge about breast cancer and BSE, and experience with breast cancer patients were significant variables and explained 35.8% of the variance. From the results of this study it can be said that women need to be taught proper BSE technique so they can become more proficient in detecting breast abnormalities.
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