• breast health;
  • breast self-examination;
  • health education;
  • health promotion;
  • health van

ABSTRACT Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a community-based health education program via a mobile van to promote the awareness of breast cancer and breast self-examination (BSE) practice among women in Hong Kong.

Design: One group pretest/posttest design.

Sample and measurements: Seven hundred and seventy-seven women in Hong Kong completed a self-administered questionnaire before and after a breast health education program from May 2002 to March 2003.

Results: About half were aware of breast health and breast diseases (53.7%) and breast screening methods (48.6%) before the intervention. It was found that women who had received instruction on BSE practice, and those who were aware of breast screening methods, breast health, and breast diseases were more likely to have had prior BSE practice. Most indicated their willingness to practice BSE regularly (93.3%) and to pass on the BSE knowledge to their relatives and friends (92%) in the posttest.

Conclusions: The outreach health education program has successfully reached women living in the 18 districts in Hong Kong. It appears to be useful in raising the awareness of breast health and BSE practice among the women, but longer term follow-up is required to ascertain its sustainability.