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Norah Abdullah Madkhali

Research Theme: Supportive and Palliative Care

Research Title: Understanding Breast Health Awareness in an Arabic Culture: A qualitative exploration

Research Interests: Cancer nursing supportive and palliative care

Supervisors: Dr Joanne Reid, Dr Olinda Santin, Dr Helen Noble


Personal Bio

I began my journey at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Nursing, and continued on to do my MSc in Cancer Nursing: Supportive and Palliative Care on 2012. This opportunity, alongside my personal experiences, furthered my interest in the development and provision of cancer supportive and palliative care. 

Project Summary

Breast cancer is a critical health concern in the Arab word including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). A major factor influencing Saudi breast cancer (BC) incidence is the large proportion of younger women presenting with BC many of whom present at an advanced stage. Saudi women often have a poor prognosis and survival rate. This situation is attributed to the absence of national BC education and screening programs in addition to poor breast health awareness and cultural barriers in KSA. BC may be an underestimated issue in KSA. Factors that may cause delay in presenting BC cases, include barriers within community, primary and tertiary health care facilities. Patient referrals are often delayed with women going through a lengthy referral process before receiving appropriate cancer treatments. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory study is to explore breast health awareness and the early diagnosis and detection methods of breast cancer from the perspective of women and primary health care providers in the KSA. While we understand the enablers and barriers to breast health awareness outside of Saudi culture, within KSA, particularly in rural populations such as Jizan, there is a paucity of research. The results of this study hope to add positively to the international knowledge base of breast health awareness. The findings will provide evidence and inform policy about women and health care providers’ experiences in Jizan in a society where such topics are taboo and poorly developed health services. This could alleviate the brunt of physical and psychological pain resulting from a breast cancer diagnosis among Saudi women.

My Perfect PhD Day

When I complete all the daily tasks in my diary. 


I have been involved in teaching for the following degree programmes and modules:

  • BSc Nursing—Evidence Based Nursing (Year 1), 2014-2015.
  • BSc Nursing—Evidence Based Nursing (Year 2), 2015-2016.

When I’m not PhDing…

I am learning French.  

Conferences & Publications


MADKHALI N. A., SANTIN O., NOBLE H. & REID J. (2016) Understanding breast health awareness in an Arabic culture: qualitative study protocol. Journal of Advanced Nursing 00(0), 000–000. doi: 10.1111/jan.12979


35th Annual International Nursing & Midwifery Research & Education Conference 2016, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), Dublin, Ireland.

  • I presented the oral abstract entitled ‘Understanding Breast Health Awareness in an Arabic Culture: A qualitative exploration.

I presented the poster abstract entitled ‘Understanding Breast Health Awareness in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: A review of the literature’