Regular self-examination of a person’s body and its parts is being advocated as a strategy for early detection of diseases.
Self-examination of the face; oral cavity; breasts; genitalia; and skin are commonly advocated by medical professionals and organizations.
Surveys have consistently shown that majority of people, both in the Philippines and abroad, still do not practice regular self-examination. The people include health professionals.
The reasons usually identified or forwarded are the following:
- Do not give importance to the benefits that can be derived from self-examination.
- Not knowledgeable on how to do the self-examination.
- Do not want to do self-examination because of fear of discovering a disease.
- Do not want to do self-examination because of a belief that frequently touching a certain part of the body, like the breast, can cause a disease, particularly, cancer.
- Do not want to do self-examination because of cultural beliefs that prohibit it.
- Difficult to develop the habit of doing self-examination.
Above reasons are considered barriers to people doing regular self-examination of their body parts. These barriers have to be mitigated and overcome by the so-called facilitators or facilitating measures. The latter consist basically of the following:
- Education on the importance of self-examination and how to do it; simplification of the instructions; and enticement to do it (strategies: full acceptance of benefit coupled with provision of physician, family and social support).
- Physician support – education provision and trust promotion to allay psychological distress and control hindering psychosocial factors.
- Family support – provision of coping assistance and control of hindering psychosocial factors.
- Social support – provision of coping assistance and control of hindering psychosocial factors.