Breast Cancer Screening in Semi-Rural Malaysia: Utilisation and Barriers
Su, Tin Tin
Hoe, Wilfred Mok Kok
Tan, Min Min
Taib, Nur Aishah
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Mohan, D., Su, T.T., Donnelly, M., Hoe, W.M.K., Schliemann, D., Tan, M.M., Reidpath, D., Taib, N.A. and Allotey, P. (2021) ‘Breast cancer screening in semi-rural malaysia: utilisation and barriers’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(23), p. 12293. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312293.
Breast cancer (BC) is the commonest cancer in Malaysia. Delayed diagnosis is a significant cause of BC mortality in the country. Early diagnosis and screening are vital strategies in mortality reduction. This study assessed the level of utilisation and barriers for breast self-examination (BSE), clinical breast examination (CBE) and mammogram in a semi-rural population in Malaysia and compared these across the different ethnic groups. This cross-sectional study was conducted among women aged 40 years and above, embedded within a health and demographic surveillance site (HDSS) in Segamat, Malaysia. Trained data collectors collected data on screening and barriers during home visits. Study participants (n = 250) were aged 59.4 ± 10.9 years and represented Malaysia’s three major ethnic groups. Practice of regular BSE, CBE uptake (ever) and mammogram (ever) was 23.2%, 36% and 22.4%, respectively. Regular BSE practice was highest in the Malay ethnic group and least among the Chinese. Regular CBE was very low in all ethnic groups (<5%). Mammogram uptake was highest among Chinese (34.4%), followed by Indians (30.4%) and Malays (16.6%). After adjusting for other socio-demographic variables, Malay ethnicity was positively associated with regular BSE (adjusted OR = 5.26, 95% CI 2.05, 13.50) and negatively associated with having had a mammogram (adjusted OR = 0.3, 95% CI 0.15, 0.57). Lower education was negatively associated (adjusted OR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.17, 0.74) with mammogram attendance (ever). Emotional and financial barriers were the most reported types of barriers, specifically, fear of diagnosis (74.8%), cost of diagnosis (69.6%) and fear of losing a breast (66.4%). Malay women more commonly reported most barriers compared to other ethnic groups. Screening uptake was low among semi-rural women in Malaysia. Implementing culturally appropriate interventions that consider ethnic differences is crucial to empowering women to engage in BC screening initiatives in these communities.