A similar number, 51%, said they had a friend or family member who had been diagnosed with the cancer.
The research, on behalf of the Marie Keating Foundation, also found that 30% of men had a close contact who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The study, conducted among 1,000, 18 to 44-year-olds in the Republic, reveals that 51% of female participants claimed their family doctor had never raised the issue of breast cancer nor stressed the importance of regular breast checks. Some 91% of women surveyed had never had a mammogram. The research was conducted online by Empathy Research, a division of Pigsback.com on behalf of The Marie Keating Foundation.
The probe also revealed that only 17% of the women surveyed had a breast examination in the last year.
Among the positive findings from the survey, 95% of women said they were aware that family history is a significant risk factor in developing breast cancer and 92% of them agreed that early detection of breast cancer could result in less invasive and more effective treatment.
Eighty-six percent of the female participants said they would attend their doctor immediately if they detected a lump or abnormality.
“The research gives us an integral insight into the way women think about their own health and risks of cancer,” said Lillian McGovern, chief executive of the Marie Keating Foundation.
“There are a significant number of people that we have educated over the last seven years, reaching 100,000 in 2008 and this research provides a clearer picture of how we can continue in the future,” she said.
“BreastCheck currently screens all women aged between 50 and 64, but younger women need to be aware of the importance of good breast health,” she said.
“85% of female participants surveyed did not know that their chances of getting breast cancer was 1 in 12,” she added.
“It was a fascinating study highlighting the great awareness of breast cancer among women, but also the need for continuous and further education on this subject,” said Angela Healy, research director of Empathy Research.
The Marie Keating Foundation was founded in 1998 by the Keating family, including Ronan Keating, following the death of their mother, Marie.
The foundation has worked to increase awareness and knowledge of cancer and issues related to the disease to all sectors of the community. Their focus is on cancers that can be prevented through lifestyle changes and early detection.