Background: Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. Early detection of breast cancer has helped in proper diagnosis and treatment which has reduced the mortality rate of women with breast cancer.

Objective: This study was conducted to determine the causes, management and perception of breast cancer among female student of the faculty of social sciences of Delta State University, Abraka. This study aimed to evaluate the awareness of the female students on breast cancer, source of information, possible risk factors and self breast examination among these students.

 Method: Using a descriptive cross-sectional study design, a valid and reliable structured questionnaire was self administered to a sampled population of 240 female students aged between 15years and above from 100L to 500L. Information gathered were demographic variable information, knowledge on breast cancer and personal data on breast cancer. Data was analyzed using statistical package for social science (SPSS) for windows version 21.0. Frequencies, percentages, chat and p.value were generated.

Result: The study revealed that majority 213 (88.8%) of the respondents have heard of breast cancer while 27(11.3%) have no knowledge on breast cancer. The main source of information was the internet (46.6%). One hundred and sixty-five (68.8%) of the respondents reported to know the risk factors of breast cancer while 128(53.3%) regularly observe or feel their breast for changes. It was also discovered that only 5(2.1%) of the respondent have or had have breast cancer.

Conclusion: From the study carried out it was discovered that although most of the respondents have heard of breast cancer very few of them have adequate knowledge. This was deducted from their response. Twenty three (27.5%) of the respondents gave no response on the symptoms 66 (27.5%) of the respondents have no knowledge on the risk factors 101 (42.1%) do not regularly observe or feel their breast for changes. Appropriate interventions are needed to encourage aware and adequate knowledge on breast cancer.


Cover Page    i

Title Page    ii

Dedication    iv

Acknowledgement    v

table of Contents    vi

list of Tables    viii

List of Figure    ix

Abstract    x


1.1    Background of the Study    1

1.2    Cancer    1

1.3    Definitions of Terms    2

1.4    Types of Breast Cancer    3

1.5    Anatomy of a Normal Breast    5

1.6    Anatomy of a Cancerous Breast    7

1.7    Staging Classification    7

1.8    Causes of Breast Cancer    8

1.9    Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer    12

1.10    Management of Breast Cancer    12

1.11    Justification of the Study    23

1.12    Objective of Study    23


2.1    Study Design    24

2.2    Population of the Study    24

2.3    Sample of Study    24

2.4    Research Instrument    24

2.5    Data Collection Method    25

2.6    Method of Data Analysis    25


3.1    Section A: Demographic Variable of Respondents    26

3.2    Section B: Knowledge on Breast Cancer (n = 240)    28

3.3    Section C: Personal information on breast cancer (n = 240)    30

3.1    Crosstab between Awareness and Risk Factors of Breast Cancer    32


1.1    Discussion    35


5.1    Conclusion    37

5.2    Recommendations    37

Refrences    38

Appendix    42


Table 3. 1: Demographic variable of respondents    27

Table 3. 2: Knowledge of breast cancer    28

Table 3. 3: Personal information on breast cancer    31

Table 3. 4: Chi-square statistics on knowledge of breast cancer and relation to the knowledge of the risk factors    32

Table 3. 5: Cross-tabulation between level of education of respondent, awareness of breast cancer   and regular observation of breast for changes    34


Figure 1.1: Inflammatory breast cancer    4

Figure 1.2: Normal breast tissue    6

Figure 1. 3: Anatomy of a cancerous breast    7

Figure 1.4: Hereditary and breast cancer incidence    9

Figure 1.5: Age group and breast cancer incidence    10

Figure 1. 6: Mammogram    13

Figure 1.7: Fine needle aspiration using ultrasound    14

Figure 1.8: Breast MRI    15

Figure 1.9: Core needle biopsy    16

Figure 1.10: Lumpectomy/partial mastectomy    18

Figure 3. 1: Sources of information on breast cancer (n  = 240)    29




Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. It is also the principal cause of death from cancer among women globally. It is a leading cause of death in West Africa with approximately 30000 new cases in 2008 and more than 16000 deaths. The incidence appears to be significantly lower in Eastern Africa with approximately 18000 new cases and a corresponding 10000 deaths during the same year (Ferlay, D. Forman ‘GLOBOCAN’ 2008 v1.2). Despite the high incidence rate in western countries, 89% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are still alive 5years after their diagnosis, which is due to early detection and treatment (Parkin 2008).Worldwide breast cancer accounts for about 22% of all female cancer and 15% of cancer death among women (Edwards et al.,2002). The incidence of breast cancer is rising in every country of the world especially in developing countries such as India. In 1940, the lifetime risk of developing cancer was 5% or one in 20. (Madigan MP et al., 1995).Every woman is at a risk for breast cancer. If she lives to be 85yrs of age there is a 12% chance that she will develop breast Cancer sometimes during her lifetime. As a woman ages, her risk of developing breast cancer rises dramatically .fewer than 5% 0f cases are discovered before the age of 35yrs and majority of all breast cancer are found in women over the age of  50yrs. Many of the established risk factors are linked to oestrogens (lancet oncology, 2001).

In 2008, about 182,500 new cases of breast cancer and 67,800 of cancer in situ were diagnosed in the united state. About 40,000 women die of breast cancer each year. However2.5million breast cancer survivors have been recorded. Death of breast cancer are declining in recent years, a reflection of earlier diagnosis from screening mammograms, improving therapies and a dramatic increase in the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in post-menopausal women.

1.2    Cancer

Cancer is a common disease, and more than one in three people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. Although more than a quarter of a million people develop cancer each year in the UK, It is predominantly a disease of the elderly with (74%) of new cases diagnosed in people aged over 60yrs. The most common single cause of death (22%) is lungs cancer, which is potentially preventable by reduction in tobacco smoking. In women, breast cancer is the most common (31%)followed by bowel cancer(12%) then lungs cancer(12%)  while in men, prostate cancer is now the most common (24%) followed by lungs cancer(15%) and then bowel cancer (14%).(Cancer research UK 2010).

1.2.1    Aetiology of cancer

The cause of cancer may be categorized as either environmental or genetic although, these may be interrelated and the cause of some cancers maybe multi factorial. Lifestyle factors play a large part in the development of many Cancers. Cigarette smoking had been identified as the single most important cause of preventable disease and premature death in the UK. The beneficial effect of stopping smoking on the cumulative risk of death from lung cancer reduces with increasing age (Doll et al., 2004).

Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer death and the link between tobacco and cancer where establish more than 50yrs ago. The most important lifestyle factor for bowel cancer is diet while cervical cancer is primarily linked to sexual behavior through the transmissible agent human Papilloma virus (HPV) and secondarily to smoking.

1.2.2    Genetic factor

A number of rare tumors are known to be associated with an inherited predisposition where an individual is born with a marked susceptibility to cancer. This is due to the inheritance ofa single genetic mutation which may be sufficient to greatly increase the risk of one or more types of cancer. When this is prevented, the cancer cell tend to have their onset at a younger age (Garber and Offit, 2015)

1.3    Definitions of Terms

Breast cancer

Breast cancer can be defined as a cancerous growth that inhabits the tissues of the breast. In this type of cancer, the cells in the breast grow abnormally and in an uncontrolled way. (Patients

Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. The damaged cells can invade surrounding tissues but with early detection and treatment, most people continue a normal life. (Susan G. Komen)

Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast divide and grow without their normal control. They tend to grow slowly and take a long time for the lump to be large enough to feel.

Breast cancer is defined as a disease which is caused by the development of malignant cells in the breast which originates in the lining of the milk gland or ducts of the breast. (Medical Dictionary)


Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells. It can affect almost any part of the body. The growth often invade surrounding tissues and can metastasize to distinct sites.(WHO definition)

Cancer involves a group of relatively normal cells dividing without the controls that usually prevent the cells from growing beyond their usual size, site and nutritional base (clinical pharmacy and therapeutics)

Cancer also known as a malignant tumor or malignant neoplasm is a group of disease involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body (

1.4    Types of Breast Cancer

There are primarily two types of breast cancer and they are named after the part of the breast in which they start;

Invasive breast cancer(lobular carcinoma)

Non invasive breast cancer (ductal carcinoma)

Invasive breast cancer: This is also known as the lobular carcinoma breast cancer. It occurs when abnormal cells from inside the milk lobes or glands break out into nearby breast tissues. The lobes are located inside the breast under the ducts. About 8% of breast cancer is lobular.

Non invasive breast cancer: This is also known as the ductal carcinoma cancer. It starts in the cells which line the breast duct beneath d nipple and areola. The abnormal cells do not spread to nearby tissues they remain in place. Although, they do not spread to tissues outside the ducts, they can develop into invasive breast cancer in which case a mastectomy may be needed and also chemotherapy can be recommended. About 85% and 90% of all breast cancer are ductal. Ductal carcinomas in situ has been suggested to be renamed ductal intraepithelial neoplasia to emphasize its non-life threatening nature (the lancet 2005, vol.365)

Less common types of breast cancer

⦁    Inflammatory breast cancer: This uncommon type of invasive breast cancer accounts for about 1% to 3% of all breast cancers. Usually there is no single lump or tumor. Instead, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) makes the skin on the breast looks red and feels warm. It also may give the breast skin a thick, pitted appearance that looks a lot like an orange peel. Doctors now know that these changes are not caused by inflammation or infection, but by cancer cells blocking lymph vessels in the skin. The affected breast may become larger or firmer, tender, or itchy.

Figure 1.1: Inflammatory breast cancer

(Source: American Cancer Society)

Paget disease of the nipple: This type of breast cancer starts in the breast ducts and spreads to the skin of the nipple and then to the areola, the dark circle around the nipple. It is rare, accounting for only about 1% of all cases of breast cancer. The skin of the nipple and areola often appears crusted, scaly, and red, with areas of bleeding or oozing. The woman may notice burning or itching. Paget disease is almost always associated with either ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or infiltrating ductal carcinoma. Treatment often requires mastectomy.

Phyllodes tumor: This very rare breast tumor develops in the stroma (connective tissue) of the breast, in contrast to carcinomas, which develop in the ducts or lobules. Other names for these tumors include phylloides tumor and cystosarcoma phyllodes. These tumors are usually benign but on rare occasions may be malignant.

Angiosarcoma: This form of cancer starts in cells that line blood vessels or lymph vessels. It rarely occurs in the breasts. When it does, it usually develops as a complication of previous radiation treatments. This is an extremely rare complication of breast radiation therapy that can develop about 5 to 10 years after radiation. Angiosarcoma can also occur in the arms of women who develop lymphedema as a result of lymph node surgery or radiation therapy to treat breast cancer.

1.1    Anatomy of a Normal Breast

The breast is like any other part of the body, consist of billions of microscopic cells. These cells multiply in an orderly fashion and new cells are made to replace the ones that died.

The breast tissue forms in women at about 8-10years in a process called THELARCHE. This process is influenced by hormones related to the onset of puberty and occurs earlier in socialites with western diet and a higher incidence of obesity. (Sales et al., 2003).




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