A Study to Assess the Knowledge of Breast Cancer and Its Preventive Measures among GNM Students in Tripura, India

Author(s): Maitri Chaudhuri1, Manamala Das2, Dilip Kumar Das3

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in women worldwide
(22%), and in India (18.5%) it ranks second to cervical cancer. The burden of
breast cancer is increasing in both developed and developing countries. India is a
vast country with huge population, cultural diversity, geographical variations, diets
and habits; sources of information on cancer risk factors are limited. Ageing is the
main risk factor for breast cancer. Some of the associated factors related to
reproductive and lifestyle includes literacy, diet, age at menarche and menopause,
age at first delivery, abortion, and family history of breast cancer. Various
pneumonic devices are used in teaching breast self-examination which includes
“7Ps” - position, perimeter, palpation, pressure, pattern, practice, and planning,
what to do if a change is found in a breast tissue. This study was carried out with
the intention of assessing the level of knowledge and prevention of breast cancer
and breast self-examination (BSE) in female nursing students.
A descriptive study was carried out in the Nurses’ Training Institute, Agartala,
Tripura. A total of 100 students present on those days of data collection and who
gave consent were included in the study.
94 % were in the age group of 18 - 22 (reproductive age group) years. Among
the 100 study participants, only 1 % had adequate knowledge followed by 36 %
having moderate knowledge and majority (63 %) were under ‘inadequate level of
knowledge’. Study showed that, there is a significant association between nursing
student’s religion and educational level with the knowledge score on breast cancer
and its preventive measures with chi square = 20.46 and chi square = 31.47
respectively at P < 0.05 level of significance.
This study concluded that the knowledge level of breast cancer among nursing
students was poor. Nurse educator has ample opportunity for taking active part in
educating the nursing students regarding breast cancer and its prevention.
Education is of utmost importance for early detection of breast cancer and
reduction of mortality.