readers perception of the effectiveness of the print in the creation of awareness against breast cancer a study punch newspaper


The increasing numbers of breast cancer cases around the world have led to various efforts to find ways of prevention, treatment, and diagnosis. Media campaigns have been utilized to spread breast cancer awareness, increase knowledge, change attitudes and behaviors. In addition to the increasing number of cancer cases, these campaigns are in response to a mixture of cultural factors and fear that hinders the public from confronting breast cancer. However, previous research has highly focused on measuring the effects of media campaigns rather than peop|e’s awareness toward the campaigns. This research study addresses a different question: how aware are targeted audi- ences to media awareness campaigns? This study attempts to investigate Kuwaiti women’s media awareness toward breast cancer awareness campaigns and whether or not age, level of education and media use contribute to the awareness. On a sample of 500 Kuwaiti women, the study found the sample to be highly unaware of the awareness campaigns. Different levels of education and media use did not contribute to the awareness. Only age was found to be significantly related to breast cancer awareness campaigns with older age groups being more aware than the younger. This low level of awareness suggests ineffective media campaigns and/or personal factors pertaining to Kuwaiti women hindering their awareness toward the campaigns.



1.1       Background of the Study

Breast cancer is the most common diagnosed cancer in women globally and the second most common cancer in the world.  Its attacks on women is reported to be three times higher in developed parts of the world than in less developed parts, but the death toll is greater in less developed regions.

It is however a cancer that originates from breast tissue; hence it is regarded as a cancer of the glandular tissue of the breast. Though the disease is confirmed to be found both in male and female patients, yet the incidence is hundred times more in women than in men. Breast cancer is therefore a proliferation of breast cells that is characterized by an abnormal growth and division of the cells to the destruction of the surrounding tissues through the filtration of the cancerous cells into the blood stream (Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, 2011).

However, breast cancer is mostly detected by a painless lump or mass of tissues called tumors, with genetic mutations and age, among the risk factor. (Palladino, 2009). Historically, according to Russel (2007) breast cancer may be one of the oldest known forms of cancerous tumors in women in Egypt and it dates back to approximately 1600BC. It was first noted and recorded as tumors or ulcers of the breast. During that time, Edwin, Papyrus described eight cases of tumors or ulcers of the breast that were treated by cauterization as ‘there is no treatment’. This treatment by cauterization was done with a tool called ‘Firedrill’. For centuries, physicians described similar cases in their practices with the same conclusion. It was not until doctors achieved greater understanding of the circulatory system in the 17th century, that they could establish a link between breast cancer and the lymph nodes in the armpit. However, the French surgeon, Jean Lewis Petit (1674 – 1750) and Scottish Surgeon, Benjamin Bell (1749–1805) were the first to remove the lymph nodes; breast tissue and chest muscle in an effort to save women from breast cancer. Their successful works were carried on by William Stewart, who started performing mastectomies in 1882. The Halsted radical mastectomy often involved removing  both breast associated with the lymph nodes and the underlying chest muscle. This often led to a long term pain and disability, but was seen as necessary, in order to  prevent the cancer from reoccurring. Radical mastectomy therefore remained the standard until in the 1970s, when a new understanding of metastasis led to  perceiving cancer as the system illness as well as a localized one. (Rusel, 2007).

According to the American Cancer Society (2007) quoted in Udoudo (2008,p.365)  Female breast cancer incidence rates, for 2002, vary internationally by more than 25 fold, ranging from 300 cases per 100,000 in Mozambique to 101.1 in the United States, North America, Australia and Northern and Western  Europe have the highest incidence of breast cancer. Large parts of Africa and Asia have the lowest.  The alarming increase in the incidence and mortality of the disease not only has posed a great threat to the world of women with slim survival rates, but also created a great deal of concern to the entire world (WHO & UICC, 2005). It is in view of the above that the United Nations, international organizations and national governments have initiated combative strategies against the pandemic with the month of October declared as the National Breast Cancer Awareness month and pink ribbon, symbolizing the awareness of the disease.

The Nigerian experience of the increase of breast cancer attacks and deaths is not different. Organizations like. Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP) are joining forces to mount a fresh onslaught on breast cancer. (Adebayo, 2010) Also in the fight, is the Breast without Spot Initiative (BWSI), launched in April 2008 in Abuja, with the aim to sensitize and prevent late presentation of women with breast cancer. (The international cancer week, 2010) The above fight becomes necessary, considering the revealing news reports that 83% of cases of cancer that arrive Nigerian hospitals, do so very late. According to the news report, the late arrival of cancer  patients to the hospitals only meet with palliative medical assistance, which is not intended to cure the patients but to help manage them before the inevitable happens. In regards to the state of the Nigerian government hospitals, the reports disclosed that the Abuja National Hospital, for instance, does not have functional equipment on ground, to offer proper diagnosis and treatment to cancer patients. The result, in the view of this report is that most people suffer the disease and later die eventually because of poor diagnosis and treatment. (NTA News, 2011).

In light of the above, experts and WHO warned that unless checked, the burden of cancer in Nigeria and other developing countries will increase (Tell Magazine, 2011). It is therefore pertinent at this juncture, to know as confirmed by the American Cancer Society (2007) that early detection or diagnosis of breast cancer can save the life of the patient. Implying that the disease is a preventable and a curable one as it is ascertained, that a patient’s chances of surviving breast cancer is higher than 90%,only with early diagnosis, and therefore need not be made fatal. (Kayode, 2005).

The above therefore will depend on the positive response of women to print media awareness and campaigns on breast cancer, for the much emphasized ‘early detection’ of the ailment and its preventable stage to become a reality. There is no doubt therefore that the best way to create awareness is through the media, of which useful information can be passed on from a reliable source to thousands of   people around a target area. In other words, mass media consisting of newspaper, radio, television, magazine, posters, pamphlet/leaflet, billboards, internet, et cetera, in any society, are to inform, correlate and educate (among others) in the process of being tools of change. It is on this note that the creation of awareness on health issues, using the media of mass communication has served as vehicles of fighting against onslaught of diseases in the past years. That is why the mass media are believed to be important tools in advancing public health goals in societies. It follows that the employment of the print media to disseminate and deliver health news and medical therapies to their target audiences will certainly achieve greater and positive results.

. It then becomes evident that effective provisions of constant health information to Nigerian women, to sensitize, educate and mobilize them on the causes of breast cancer, the various common symptoms, the risk factors, preventive measures and possible treatments, are in the domain of the media of mass communication since it is in the ability of the media to inhibit or promote a change in a society.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Cancer is one of the deadly diseases that has threatened the world. According to World Health Organization WHO (2005), about 12.5% of all deaths globally are caused by cancer, with the percentage more than the percentage of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria put together. Therefore, the increase in the attacks and deaths of rural women with breast cancer in Nigeria poses a pertinent question on the effect of  breast cancer campaigns on Nigeria women as regards the their poor responses to early presentation of breast cancer. It is in view of the above and given the confirmation of American Cancer Society (2007) that breast cancer deaths remain preventable at the early stage, that the researcher critically evaluated the effectiveness of the media campaign programmes on breast cancer, in causing a quick and prompt positive changes of the women in performing their BSE and CBE for the reduction in their mortality rate. The problem necessitating this study is therefore: Is the print media effective in campaigning against breast cancer?

1.3       Objectives of Study

The objectives of the study are:

1. To ascertain the print media campaign programmes on breast cancer and their frequency

2. To identify the campaign programmes women are most exposed to on print media.

3. To find out the level of women’s exposure to print media campaign messages on

breast cancer.

4. To ascertain the medium that is most effective for media campaign on breast cancer.

5. To evaluate the effectiveness of the print media campaigns on breast cancer awareness.

1.4       Research Questions

The research questions are as follows:

1. How frequent are the print media campaigns programmes on breast cancer in Nigeria?

2. Which campaign programmes women are most exposed to on print media?

3. Do women of Etsako West Local Government of Edo State have adequate exposure to print media campaign on breast cancer?

4. Which medium is most effective for breast cancer campaigns?

5. How do women in Etsako West Local Government of Edo State perceive media campaign of breast cancer?

1.5       Significance of the Study

This study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, it will contribute to the articulation of the media campaign role in solving the problem of breast cancer.

It  will serve as a data base to mass communication researchers who may be interested in learning the global fight on breast cancer and future researchers, who may embarking on similar research in future.

It practical will serve as a document for government and non-governmental organizations, policy makers and media campaigns planners in the field of breast cancer.

1.6       Scope of the Study

This project work investigate readers perception on the effectiveness of the print in the creation of awareness against breast cancer. A study of the Punch Newspaper.

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