Barriers and Facilitators to Self-Examination of Body Parts

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.


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