Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and the second leading cause of cancer death globally. Since early diagnosis is crucial to reducing mortality, high levels of knowledge regarding general information, risk factors, and symptoms are required among healthcare professionals to deliver breast cancer care. This study aimed to determine Syrian medical students' knowledge about breast cancer in the fields of general knowledge, common clinical features, and risk factors.
This cross-sectional study was conducted at the Syrian Private University in October 2019 (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), Damascus, during the Syrian war crisis. Data were collected through self-administered surveys and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 25.0 (SPSS Inc., United States). The chi-square test was applied to assess the relationship between the level of knowledge and gender. One way analysis of variance was performed to assess the overall differences in mean knowledge score by study year, GPA, mother's education, and source of information. Unpaired Student's T-test was used to analyze the differences in mean knowledge scores (continuous variable) based on smoking status and alcohol consumption.
Of 320 students, 301 completed the questionnaire (response rate = 94.0%), of which 179(59.5%) were males. The study revealed above-average knowledge scores (total mean = 68.4%) regarding breast cancer, general information (71.9%), common clinical features (71.6%), and risk factors (71.6%). Clinical students (4th, 5th, and 6th years) scored higher compared with pre-clinical students (1st, 2nd, and 3rd years).
This study showed above-average knowledge scores regarding breast cancer. More efforts to correct misinformation, through reassessing the university curriculum and promoting awareness about breast cancer are required.