"Introduction: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide and it can be detected at an early stage through breast self-examination (BSE) which increases chances of survival. The study was aimed to assess knowledge and practice of breast self examination among females in a rural area of South India.
Materials and methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out among a total sample of 314 women in rural area of South India. Females were interviewed using interviewer administered questionnaires to obtain information on their socio demographic characteristics, knowledge and practice of breast self-examination. Data were entered using SPSS 13.01.
Results: In the present study, 30.89% women were in the age group 31-40 yrs. Most of the women (71.34 %) were married. Most of the women (44.27%) had secondary education and 13.69% were illiterate. Only 30.89% of the women were aware of breast self-examination. In the study only 22.61% of the females had ever checked their breast. The level of awareness of breast self examination was highest among those aged 51- 60 years. Awareness of breast self examination was found to be significantly associated with educational attainment.
Conclusion: The level of knowledge and practice of breast self-examination among female is unacceptably low. Efforts should be made to increase level of knowledge and practice of breast self-examination through health education programmes."
Key words: Breast self-examination, knowledge and practice, rural area