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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 61-65

A community-based study on awareness of cancer and anticipated barriers in seeking help

Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Deepak Sharma
Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJCFM.IJCFM_34_19

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Introduction: Cancer is a leading public health problem worldwide. Contributing factors include lack of awareness regarding cancer and improper help seeking behavior. Objective: To assess the awareness regarding early warning signs of cancer, its risk factors and anticipated barriers in seeking help. Methodology: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 470 study participants. Trained workers administered a standardized tool to respondents after obtaining their informed consent. Epi Info software for windows version 7.2 was used for the analysis. Results: Overall, merely 7.7% (36/470) of the study respondents were aware of all the nine warning signs of cancer. The most commonly known early warning sign of cancer was “unexplained swelling” (58.3%). Further, although majority knew that cigarette smoking is a risk factor for cancer (90.4%), very few were aware about the role of inadequate physical activity (9.3%) and diet devoid of adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables (11.9%). There were few anticipated barriers in seeking help such as embarrassment (13.2%) and difficult to interact with a doctor (7.9%). Conclusion: There was inadequate awareness about cancer but a favorable help-seeking behavior. It is, therefore, recommended that health-care professionals should scale up efforts for disseminating information regarding cancer among the people.

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