Barriers to clinical breast examinations among women of low socio-economic group in Mumbai
Padmavathi V. Dyavarishetty, Prachi D. Sondankar, Shobha S. Kowli
Background: Literature review shows barriers to clinical breast examination (CBE) are primarily due to lack of knowledge and non-availability of services. Breast cancer awareness and screening program implemented in the low socio-economic group in the city of Mumbai focussed on raising awareness levels and motivating women for CBE. The participation rate for CBE despite providing information and services was only 40%–50%. The aim of the study is to understand the barriers to undergo CBE and seek suggestions for increasing their participation. Methods: A qualitative research study design using in-depth interview technique was conducted in women residing in a low socio-economic area in the city of Mumbai. Thirty-four women, selected using purposive sampling technique, were interviewed in a community setting using a semi-structured in-depth interview tool. Women who were between 40 and 69 years and who had received health education but had not undergone CBE constituted the study sample. Results of the study are presented by the coding of the responses of the participants into the broad thematic area. Results: The major barriers to CBE were social reasons that included the women’s priority to household chores, lack of support from family members, stress caused due to relationship problems, etc. Emotional disturbances due to family stress were attributed as a reason for not remembering the contents of health talk on breast cancer. Misconceptions despite health education sessions by the health workers prevailed. Conclusions: Giving information may not be sufficient to change health-seeking behavior. There is a need to sensitize women to accord priority to their own health and teach them to deal with emotional stress and find ways to overcome social barriers.