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Background: Limited disease awareness among women may impact breast cancer stage-at-diagnosis in Tanzania, reducing survival. This study assessed breast cancer knowledge, screening practices, and educational preferences among outpatients at Tanzanian government-supported hospitals.
Methods: A convenience sample of women was surveyed regarding (1) knowledge/beliefs of breast cancer etiology, risk factors, symptoms, treatment, (2) early detection knowledge/practice, and (3) educational preferences.
Results: Among 225 respondents, 98.2% knew of breast cancer; 22.2% knew someone affected by breast cancer. On average, 30% of risk factors and 51% of symptoms were identified. Most accepted one or more breast cancer myths. Among 126 aware of breast self-exam, 40% did not practice it; only 0.9% underwent regular clinical breast examinations despite 68% being aware of the procedure. Among treatments, 87% recognized surgery, 70% radiation, and fewer systemic therapy. Preferred educational sources were group sessions, television/radio, and meetings with breast cancer survivors.
Conclusions: This work reveals incomplete breast cancer awareness among Tanzanian women and promises to inform development of user-focused educational resources.
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