The Influence of Sociodemographic Factors on Women’s Breast Cancer Screening in Accra, Ghana
Keywords:breast cancer, breast self-examination, Africa, mammogram screening, sociodemographic factors, breast neoplasm, mammography
Ghana has a relatively low incidence rate of women’s breast cancer compared to more developed countries. However, the breast cancer’s mortality rate is higher in the former compared to the latter. In Ghana, the role of social work in health care is limited or is not recognized. The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of sociodemographic characteristics, access to healthcare providers, and physicians’ recommendations on Ghanaian women’s breast cancer screening practices. A cross-sectional survey and convenience sample were used to collect data from 194 Ghanaian women after approval was obtained from two Institutional Review Boards, authors of instruments used, and the participants. Univariate, chi-square, and logistic regression statistics were used to analyze data. Seventy-one percent of the participants reported practicing breast self-examination (BSE) and 14% reported mammogram screening. While educational level and employment were positively associated with BSE, a regular visit to healthcare providers was negatively associated with BSE. Income and physicians’ recommendations were positively associated with mammogram screening. Ghanaian women’s low level of mammogram screening calls for first, increasing breast cancer awareness and education to counteract negative personal and cultural beliefs relating to breast cancer and screening. Second, social workers in collaboration with health professionals and social justice agencies should advocate and lobby for health insurance legislation which mandates coverage of mammogram screening services. Finally, introducing oncology social work to the curriculum of social work educational programs in Ghana is needed to prepare social workers to address psychosocial challenges relating to breast cancer.
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