Background: Breast cancer has been the most common cancer among the Saudi female subjects for the last decades.
Objective: To screen primary health-care (PHC) attendees for the risk factors of breast cancer in Eastern Saudi Arabia and assess their practice for the early detection of the disease.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the PHC centers of Al-Khobar city. Women attending the PHC centers aged 25 years and older were included in the study. Six hundred PHC attendees were selected from five health centers by proportionate allocation to the average population served by each health center. Data were collected by an interview questionnaire, which was composed of three sections: sociodemographic information, risk factors among PHC attendees, and practice for the early detection of breast cancer. The cancer risk was calculated by a cancer risk calculator and classified into low, moderate, and high risk.
Result: About 7% of the study sample showed a moderate to high risk of developing breast cancer. The most common risk factor of breast cancer among the PHC attendees was the use of contraceptive pills (51.2%), followed by obesity (42.8%), breastfeeding for a period less than 12 months (24.3%), age of puberty less than 12 years (18.7%), history of breast cancer in the second degree relatives (9.5%), menopause (9.3%), and the use of hormonal replacement therapy (8%). Among the avoidable risk factors, obesity was significantly more common among the less-educated women, while breastfeeding for less than 12 months was more common among the highly-educated women. Moreover, the most common practiced measure for the early detection of breast cancer was breast self-examination (44.6%), followed by mammogram (16.3%) and, last, clinical examination (11.6%).
Conclusion: A substantially large proportion of female PHC attendees showed the avoidable risk factors of breast cancer. Moreover, more than half of the population was not involved in screening for the early detection of the disease. This situation demands the attention of medical and public health workers.
Breast cancer, Saudi females, primary health-care attendees