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Publication date: 
March 16, 2015


Mammography ensures early diagnosis and a better chance for treatment and recovery from breast cancer. We conducted a national survey to investigate knowledge and practices of breast cancer screening among Saudi women aged 50 years or older in order to inform the breast cancer national health programs.

Materials and Methods

The Saudi Health Interview Survey is a national multistage survey of individuals aged 15 years or older. The survey included questions on socio-demographic characteristics, tobacco consumption, diet, physical activity, health-care utilization, different health-related behaviors, and self-reported chronic conditions. Female respondents were asked about knowledge and practices of self and clinical breast exams, as well as mammography.


Between April and June 2013, a total of 10,735 participants completed the survey. Among respondents, 1,135 were women aged 50 years or older and were included in this analysis. About 89% of women reported not having a clinical breast exam in the past year, and 92% reported never having a mammogram. Women living in Al Sharqia had the highest rate of mammography use. Women who were educated, those who had received a routine medical exam within the last two years, and those who were diagnosed with hypertension were more likely to have had a mammogram in the past two years.


Our results show very low rates of breast cancer screening in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country with free health services. This calls for educational campaigns to improve breast cancer screening. Addressing the barriers for breast cancer screening is a public health imperative.


El Bcheraoui C, Basulaiman M, Wilson S, Daoud F, Tuffaha M, AlMazroa MA, Memish ZA, Al Saeedi M, Mokdad AH. Breast cancer screening in Saudi Arabia: Free but almost no takers. PLOS ONE. 2015 Mar 16. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119051.