All over the world, the most frequent cancer and death among women is breast cancer (BC), among BC can be treated and its risks can be reduced if it diagnosed in early stages.
Early diagnosis of breast masses can be achieved by performing breast self- examination (BSE). physical examination by a physician, and mammography.
Objective: Aim of this study is to evaluate the practice of breast self-examination female students in Al-Bayan University.
Method: A cross sectional study was used; a pre-validated questionnaire was distributed to 142 female students from Al-Bayan university. The questionnaire covered the sociodemographic characteristics of participants (age, sex, and marital status), knowledge about correct timing of BSE, attitude and practice of BSE, willing to instruct others, and their source of information about BSE.
Results: More than three quarter of our participants did not know the correct timing of breast self-examination, only 39.4% of them perform the breast self-examination, less than half of them (42.3%) reported that they will visit a doctor if they feel pain or lump in the breasts. The majority of our participants (69.7 %) had a desire to teach others how to perform breast self-examination. Their main source of information about breast self-examination was from TV.
Conclusion: Breast self-examination practice among our participants was poor, so it is recommended to increase the awareness campaigns and training programs among students by National Breast Cancer Early Detection and Research program and focusing on the benefits of early detection of breast cancer by performing BSE.
Key words: Breast self- examination, Iraq