Get access

Screening for breast cancer among young Jordanian women: ambiguity and apprehension


  • Funding: This project was approved by Faculty of Nursing Research Ethics Committee (FNREC) at the University of Jordan. This project received a small grant from the higher institution of academic affair from the University of Jordan.
  • Conflicts of interest: This is an original paper that has not been submitted or published in any other journal. The paper is part of a collaborative project for four researchers (three from Jordan and one from the UK). The authors Khadeejeh Al-dasoqi, Ruqayya Zeilani, Maysoon Adelraheem and Catrin Evans are responsible for all the contents in the paper, and we guarantee that this paper will not be published in any other journal in the future. No conflict of interest has been declared by the authors.

Correspondence address: Dr Ruqayya Zeilani, Faculty of Nursing, The University of Jordan, Amman 11942, PO Box 11942, Jordan; Tel: 00-962-(0)-5355000/ext. 23140; E-mail:



The goal of this study was to understand young Jordanian women's attitudes towards breast cancer screening practices in order to improve young women's uptake of screening and early detection.


The incidence of breast cancer is increasing annually among younger Jordanian women; however, little is known about their attitudes towards breast cancer and associated screening practices. Young women's attitudes towards breast cancer must be taken into account when designing screening strategies and interventions specifically for this age group. Screening strategies must also acknowledge young women's cultural context; however, little is known about how culture shapes their understandings and practices.


A qualitative interpretive approach was utilized to interview 45 young educated women about their breast cancer views and screening practices. Data were analysed thematically.

Findings and Discussion

Four overlapping themes emerged: (i) young women should not think about it, (ii) absence of a role model, (iii) cultural shame of breast cancer, and (iv) cancer means death and disability. The study found high levels of apprehension and ambiguity related to breast cancer. This was associated with the perceived impact of a cancer diagnosis on a young woman's social status and family role. Family support was perceived to be a necessary prerequisite for seeking treatment or screening.


Understanding young women's perception about screening and early detection of breast cancer is essential for policy makers and healthcare providers to design culturally appropriate and age-appropriate health promotion campaigns and services.