Authors: Wong MF Florence, Cheng LS Winnie
Breast cancer is a major health problem with high mortality in women worldwide and has become the third most prevalent disease among women in Hong Kong. Knowledge about breast cancer is closely related to health beliefs towards screening practices for breast cancer. This study examined knowledge about breast cancer and breast cancer screening (BCS) beliefs among menopausal and postmenopausal women. A total of 213 eligible women, mostly aged 55 to 60, who were housewives or retired and were educated at secondary school level or above, were selected. A survey using the Chinese Breast Cancer Screening Beliefs (CBCSB) questionnaire was conducted. The results revealed that menopausal and postmenopausal women had better health beliefs towards breast cancer screening practices. Education was found to be positively associated with attitudes of BCS health beliefs. It indicates that education can affect attitudes towards breast cancer screening practice. Most of the women presented inadequate knowledge and they wished to receive more information about breast cancer although they were well-educated. It is important to note that knowledge about breast cancer cannot be effectively delivered to the at-risk women. In addition, menopausal and postmenopausal women can be more likely to seek more information about the effectiveness and side effects of the medication for breast cancer. Therefore, treatment about effectiveness, side effects, and prices ought to be included in current educational programs and healthcare services in the promotion schemes. Healthcare professionals should also pay more attention to better BCS practices in community-based educational programs with information on preventive measures for breast cancer to menopausal and postmenopausal women, particularly to those in lower socioeconomic classes.
Keywords: breast cancer; screening beliefs; knowledge; menopause; postmenopause