Original Research

Understanding female students’ risk perceptions of developing breast cancer at Great Zimbabwe University

Isaac Nyambiya, Clarice P. Mudzengi, Shayne Nago
Inkanyiso | Vol 16, No 1 | a100 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ink.v16i1.100 | © 2024 Isaac Nyambiya, Clarice P. Mudzengi, Shayne Nago | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 November 2023 | Published: 22 February 2024

About the author(s)

Isaac Nyambiya, Department of Physics, Geography and Environmental Science, School of Natural Sciences, Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo, Zimbabwe; and, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Clarice P. Mudzengi, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Department of Livestock, Wildlife and Fisheries, Gary Magadzire School of Agriculture and Engineering, Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo, Zimbabwe
Shayne Nago, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Department of Soil and Plant Sciences, Gary Magadzire School of Agriculture and Engineering, Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo, Zimbabwe

Abstract

This article focuses on breast cancer as the second most prevalent cancer in Zimbabwe. However, despite several local studies on breast cancer and its risk factors, the incidence rate of the disease in the country is increasing. This article sought to establish the level of awareness of the risk factors of breast cancer among female students. The study was carried out at Great Zimbabwe University, an institution of higher learning in Masvingo province, Zimbabwe. A mixed methods approach was employed involving a focus group discussion comprising eight key informants and online individual questionnaires with open and closed questions used to capture attitudes of female students towards breast cancer. Risk factors were categorised into age, family history, reproductive factors, oestrogen, and lifestyle. There were also some cultural beliefs like bewitchment and myths about black brassieres causing breast cancer. Thus, there is need for educative campaigns to disseminate breast cancer information, especially promoting regular screening and awareness of predisposing factors. Additionally, more regular and in-depth studies on breast cancer in Zimbabwe are imperative as our results show a higher prevalence rate than current official statistics. The research provides relevant information for pastoral caretakers handling trauma in the discipline of practical theology.

Contribution: This article represents an intersection between practical theology and basic health care. Insights resulted from this study provide a baseline upon which to develop ways to reduce prevalence of breast cancer. The research can also be utilised by specialists in pastoral care and women theologies.


Keywords

breast cancer; health reform; risk factors; pastoral care; women theologies

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

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