Breast cancer knowledge and participation in breast screening practices among Southeast Asian women living in Sydney

Syeda Zakia Hossain, Lauren Robinson, Jillian Clarke


Objective: This study explores the factors that influence breast-screening
participation in Southeast Asian (SEA) women living in Sydney. Internationally
SEA women have displayed low participation in breast screening due to a lack of
general breast cancer knowledge and knowledge regarding available screening
practices. Ethnicity, socio-demographic and acculturation variables often shape
perceptions regarding preventative health behaviour (breast screening) and
impact on health belief measures, however the influence of these variables in an
Australian setting is unknown.
Design: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted on a sample
of 183 SEA women specifically Filipino, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese. Data
on socio-demographic variables, knowledge and participation in breast
screening were analysed using quantitative techniques in SPSS.
Result: Filipino women demonstrated more knowledge than the other three
ethnicities; however all ethnic groups demonstrated poor to average knowledge
regarding breast cancer. Knowledge regarding breast cancer symptoms was
significantly related to participation in mammography for each ethnic group.
Notable barriers to breast screening included pain, being too time-consuming,
lack of a GP recommendation and fear of cancer detection.
Conclusion: The low participation demonstrated in these communities’
highlights the immediate need to initiate culturally sensitive health interventions
for SEA women in Sydney, which can be used for other ethnic groups similar to
the ones included in this study. It is essential to increase general breast cancer
knowledge as it plays an important role in initiating breast screening.


Breast cancer knowledge; Breast screening practices; Southeast Asian women

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