Breast health awareness in an Arabic culture: A qualitative exploration

Norah Abdullah Madkhali, Joanne Reid, Olinda Santin, Helen Noble

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To explore breast health awareness and the early diagnosis and detection methods of breast cancer from the perspective of women and primary healthcare providers in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
There is a high incidence of advanced breast cancer in young women in developing countries including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but no standardised information regarding breast self-examination, nor a national screening programme.
Qualitative exploratory study
This qualitative study was conducted in eight states across the Jizan region of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Purposive sampling was used to recruit Saudi women n= (24), general practitioners n= (20) and nurses n= (20). Semi-structured interviews were conducted from November 2015-February 2016. Inductive thematic analysis was undertaken.
The cultural views towards health, breast cancer and its screening were embedded in women’s concept of health behaviour. Religious infrastructure informed how Saudis as Muslims should live, react to breast cancer and death, and view their breast health. Health service provision was aimed at reactively treating breast cancer symptoms rather than proactively offering preventative breast cancer strategies.
This study provides new evidence on the complexity of poor breast health awareness and lack of resources in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Additional resources are needed to remove such barriers and provide targeted health education and services in developing countries where breast health services are poorly developed. The findings would be applicable to immigrant societies internationally where such topics remain taboo, and breast cancer screening is underutilized.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2019


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