Background: The breast cancer etiology remains still unclear. Although there have been various studies across the globe, proper prevention protocols or strategies for breast cancer remains limited. Regular breast self-examination could influence management, quality of life, mortality, as well as prognosis of breast cancer in any population. The current study was aimed to investigate the health beliefs and knowledge among Saudi women regarding breast self-examination. Methodology: A cross-sectional observational survey study was carried out in the Aseer region, Saudi Arabia using an online self-developed questionnaire distributed via Google forms among the general public. All female citizens and residents in the Aseer area were included in this study. Data were represented in the form of frequencies (number of responders) and valid percentages for categorical variables. Analysis of variance test was utilized to compare means between different subgroups. A p-value < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. Results: A total of 473 participants completed the survey. The average score for behavior questions was found at 2.85 ± 1.47, while the average rating for knowledge questions was found at 114.51 ± 36.33. Females aged between 50 and 60, divorced, or with a secondary school degree showed significantly higher (p < 0.001) levels for knowledge. While females aged between 31 and 35 years old divorced with a university degree had a significantly better (p < 0.001) behavior toward breast cancer and breast self-examination. Conclusion: A poor level of knowledge and poor practices and behavior toward breast self-examination was observed among females of the Aseer region, Saudi Arabia. Further studies are required in other regions of the country to assess the level of knowledge and behaviors at a broader level to explore the exact reasons behind this poor practice observed.
Key words: Health beliefs, Saudi women, breast self-examination.