Harmeet Kaur and Bandana Bisht
Breast cancer, Cervical Cancer, Early stage, Knowledge empowerment, working women.
|PUBLISHED DATE||October 2014|
|PUBLISHER||The Author(s) 2014. This article is published with open access at www.chitkara.edu.in/publications|
According to GLOBOCAN 2012 data released in December 2013 there are more than 10 lakh cancer cases per annum in India. The Incidence of breast cancer is growingin younger and elder women population worldwide. In India, the incidence of breast cancer is increasing at an alarming rate. The cervix cancer incidence is also very high in India especially in rural Indian women. The earlier studies have shown that raising the awareness regarding these two cancers can go long way as these are the progressive cancers and if women are made aware to get the diagnostic tests done regularly then there is more probability of getting the small tumors diagnosed early, which can be treated effectively and cure rate can be better. Therefore, a study was conducted to investigate the impact of awareness program on breast and cervical cancer knowledge empowerment among working women in education sector. Quasi experimental pretestpost test design was used on the sample of 110 working women which were selected by simple random sampling technique. A self reported questionnaire on knowledge assessment regarding breast and cervical cancer was prepared and validated. The questionnaire was administered to the respondents to measure their baseline pre test knowledge regarding breast and cervical cancer. After the pre test, information on breast and cervical cancer was sent to all the respondents through e-mail which included the information on risk factors, sign and symptoms, diagnostic tests, early detection and risk prevention aspects. After three days, post test was conducted to measure the impact of information on knowledge empowerment of respondents. Data was analyzed through descriptive and inferential statistics using SPSS 16.0 version. The study finding revealed that baseline knowledge of working women regarding breast and cervical cancer was inadequate. The knowledge of respondents improved significantly after sensitizing them through the information on breast and cervical cancer.The present study revealed that knowledge of breast and cervical cancer is astonishingly inadequate among educated and working women, which gives an insight to healthcare personnel to sensitize the women to take measures such as self breast examination, getting mammography and Pap smear tests done to detect these two deadly cancers at early stages. Therefore, there is need for organizing awareness programs at national, community and individual levels so that women can become aware regarding preventive aspects and early diagnostic techniques so that these cancers can be curbed before occurrence and at an early stage.
The two most commonly found cancers in women are breast and cervical cancer. Breast cancer is topmost cancer found in urban women population. Nandakumar, Ramnath & Chaturvedi(2010) stated “In the year 2007, 82,000 new cases of cancer Breast were reported in India. In hospital-based cancer registries, cancer of the breast is the leading site of cancer in Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram, second leading site in Bangalore, Dibrugarh and Chennai. Cancer of breast constitutes 14.3 % to 30.0% of all cancers in women. The report on ‘Development of an Atlas of Cancer in India’ showed that Chandigarh (39.5), North Goa (36.8), Aizawl (36.2) and Panchkula (34.6) had the higher microscopic incidence rates of breast cancer compared to that seen in Delhi.”
Breast cancer is the cancer of breast tissue leading to uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells which may invade surrounding tissues or spread (metastasis) elsewhere in the body affecting the other healthy cells. Its symptoms may vary widely like lumps in the breast or armpit, swelling or skin changes, nipple inversion, change in the size of the breast, pain, soreness or discoloration of the breast. There is no specific cause to it but some of the risk factors like increasing age, positive family history, high fat diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, first child at late age >30yrs, early menarche, late menopause, stress and larger breast definitely increase the likelihood of developing this disease. Early detection and treatment of breast cancer can improve the survival rate up to 98%. Risk of breast cancer can be prevented by performing monthly Breast self examination, regular clinical breast examinations and mammography.
Cervical Cancer has emerged as second most common cancer among women globally. According to NCRP report (2007) 4,93,243 women affected by Cervical Cancer every year in the world. 2,73,505 women die of the disease every year in the world. 1,32,082 women affected by Cervical Cancer every year in India. 74,118 women die of the disease every year in India. Cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix. The cervix is the lower narrow end of the uterus which further connects the vagina (birth canal). It can be called as the neck of the uterus. All women above the age 30 yrs are at the risk of getting cervical cancer. It is one of the most prevalent cancers among women. The main causative agent for cervical cancer is Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is passed from one person to another through intercourse. At least half of the sexually active women will have HPV at some point in their lives but few women will get cervical cancer. Though a dreadful disease, it can be prevented by regular screening tests and vaccination. If detected at an early age, leads to long survival and better quality of life.
It is established that well-organized screening programs or taking preventive measures by every woman can reduce breast and cervical cancer incidence and in turn mortality. It is well established now that awareness about sexual and reproductive health behaviours as well as preventive measures for cancer like screening tests, (pap test for cervical cancer and mammography for breast cancer) is essential to empower women so that they can fight with these deadly diseases.
|ISSN||Print : 2393-8536, Online : 2393-8544|
Breast and cervical cancer screening awareness is main agenda on the national programs but despite of these all awareness campaigns, the knowledge of literate women is inadequate, so we can imagine that knowledge of rural women might be even more inadequate. Therefore there is need for strengthening the awareness programs regarding breast and cervical cancers at national, community and individual levels through which cancer screening practices among women need to be strengthened and knowledge regarding age appropriate screening tests for breast and cervical cancer should be given
Study Limitation: The sample size was small and sample was selected from only one university. Large sample can be used to generalize the findings.