Although breast cancer has a lower incidence in developing countries, mortality rates are higher, mainly due to delay in diagnosis and the poor diagnostic and therapeutic capacities. Although screening tests have been available for quite a long time, delayed and advanced presentation is still common especially in developing countries. The decade-long Syrian crisis has severely crippled the healthcare system and depleted the already-limited capacities of the healthcare services, which underprioritized the care provided to unurgent cases like breast cancer. This study aimed to investigate the practices of breast cancer screening among breast cancer patients.
A cross-sectional study conducted in Al-Beiruni Hospital at Damascus University in 2019, through personal interviews using a structured questionnaire.
The sample consisted of 532 patients of breast cancer. One-hundred twenty-three (23%) of them reported undergoing one or more of the different screening methods at least once every six months prior to diagnosis. Several factors had a statistically significant association with the probability of applying screening methods including living in large cities, having less children, having a full-time or part-time job, and the level of education. Patients who reported having a relative diagnosed previously with breast cancer or any other malignancies were also more likely to screen themselves. Inaccessibility to healthcare services, which was exaggerated by the armed conflicts, had a significant association with less practicing of the screening methods too.
The Syrian war and its direct and indirect consequences negatively affected the practice of screening methods for breast cancer.
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