Breast cancer a major public health challenge is often associated with high morbidity which often times is not unconnected with poor knowledge and screening practices. Teachers who are seen as role model are the key stakeholders in prevention of breast cancer (BC). However their knowledge and screening practices have not been fully explored. Therefore this study was designed to investigate knowledge of breast cancer and screening practices of female Senior Secondary (SS) school teachers in an urban local government area of Ibadan, Nigeria. The study was cross-sectional in design and it involved all the 411 female teachers in SS school. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to assess breast cancer awareness, knowledge of BC; self reported practice of Self Breast Examination (SBE), Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) and Mammography as well as factors influencing screening practices. Knowledge of BC was measured using a 30-point scale categorized into poor 0-14, fair 15-21, and good 22-30 knowledge respectively. Respondents’ mean age and years of service were 39.8±8.5 and 12.0±8.5 years respectively. About two-thirds (79.8%) were married, 70.0% had first degrees and 46.0% masters degrees. Majority (93.2%) had heard of BC and the main sources of information were television (66.4%) and radio (42.0%); 76.2% claimed to have heard about SBE, 10.7% knew the appropriate age for commencing SBE. One hundred and eleven (36.2%) had ever practiced SBE and only 27.6% of these examined their breast monthly. Of the 73 and 163 respondents who have heard of mammography and CBE 1.6 and 4.6% had ever gone for either of the screening respectively. The mean knowledge score of BC was 8.8 ± 4.5. About 86.3% had poor knowledge, 13.0% had fair knowledge and 0.7% had good knowledge of BC. Some respondents believed that BC could be cured (42.3%) and 64.5% believed that BC was a disease of young girls. Almost thirty five percent (34.8%) did not practice BC screening because they did not know how it is done. There was no statistically significant difference in the knowledge of BC and the age of respondents. Knowledge and screening practice for BC is low among the respondents. There is a need to organize series of health education programmes aimed at improving knowledge of breast cancer and screening practices.
Key words: Breast cancer, secondary school, teachers, breast screening and practices.
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