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Knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes of Hong Kong Chinese women on screening mammography and early breast cancer management

Knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes of Hong Kong Chinese women on screening mammography and early breast cancer management

Breast Journal 11(1): 52-56

In most Western countries, screening mammography and breast-conserving therapy (BCT) are now well-established practices and have been well accepted by women over the last two decades. There are limited data on the acceptability of these strategies by Chinese women in an Oriental society where a population-based screening program has not been established and mastectomy is still commonly practiced. A survey was conducted of 1012 Hong Kong Chinese women, ages 18-69 years, to assess the level of knowledge, perceptions, and attitudes on screening mammography and the surgical management of early breast cancer. Most women (58%) had never heard of mammographic screening, and housewives were more likely to have heard of it than nonhousewives (49% versus 37%; p = 0.0001). The majority (82%) of those who had heard of mammographic screening believe that it can detect early breast cancers and reduce mortality, however, only 58% of these women would participate in yearly screening and clinical breast examination despite acknowledging the potential benefits; a lack of time and the cost were the predominant reasons given. Forty-seven percent of women had the misconception that mastectomy was the only curative treatment; when the alternative was explained, the overall rate for choosing BCT rose from 29% to 49%. There was no correlation between age and the choice of surgery. Most women (75%) felt that breast reconstruction after mastectomy was desirable and acceptable. A lack of knowledge on mammographic screening is prevalent and the concept of preventive health care has a low priority in this Chinese population. Mastectomy is still widely perceived as the only curative treatment; BCT with cosmetic reconstruction is seen as an acceptable alternative. Interventions to improve the accuracy of information and to encourage preventive health care behaviors will have a positive impact on establishing cancer screening programs and providing quality cancer care in the future.

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Accession: 049440682

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PMID: 15647079

DOI: 10.1111/j.1075-122x.2005.21480.x

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