Breast cancer knowledge, attitude and practice among medical and non-medical university students

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To assess the level of breast cancer knowledge, attitude and practice among female Beni-Suef University students.


A cross-sectional study was conducted at Beni-Suef University. A convenience sample of 963 female students (489 non-medical and 474 medical) was included. The sample was selected from different colleges with a response rate of 87%.


The mean age of non-medical and medical participants was 19.4 years (SD ± 1.24) and 20.74 years (SD ± 1.5), respectively. Medical students were more knowledgeable about breast cancer risk factors. Breast self-examination (BSE) practice was known by 72.4% of medical students vs. 47.6% of non-medical ones. Nearly two-thirds of the medical students performed BSE at the best time during the menstrual cycle. Poor level of knowledge and practice was found among non-medical students compared with a good level of knowledge and practice among medical students (P = 0.001). Both groups showed insufficient levels with regard to attitude. Non-medical students showed positive predictors for poor and insufficient knowledge (OR = 469.2 and 62.17, respectively). Having relatives with breast cancer was a significant negative predictor for the state of poor practice (OR = 1.809). Willingness to attend awareness and training seminars was a significant negative predictor for the state of insufficient practice among the non-medical students (OR = 0.624).


The level of knowledge and practices toward breast cancer was higher among medical students. The overall level of BSE practice was low, with a significant difference between the medical and non-medical students.

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The authors thank all participants and persons who assisted us in conducting this research.

Author information

The authors contributed substantially to conceiving the study, analysis and interpretation of data, and drafting and critical revision of the article. Both authors gave their final approval for the article as submitted.

Correspondence to Manal Mohamed Anwar.

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Ethical considerations

The Faculty of Medicine, Beni-Suef University Research Ethics Committee, approved the study protocol. The purpose of the study was explained to all participants, confidentiality was assured, and informed consent obtained. The survey tool was anonymous.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Anwar, M.M., Khalil, D.M. Breast cancer knowledge, attitude and practice among medical and non-medical university students. J Public Health (Berl.) (2020).

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  • Knowledge
  • Attitude
  • Practice
  • Female students
  • Breast cancer