Cancer and how the patients see it; Prevalence and perception of risk factors: A cross-sectional survey from a tertiary care centre of Karachi, Pakistan

Saira Saeed, Javaid Ahmad Khan, Nousheen Iqbal, Sana Irfan, Alviya Shafique, Safia Awan

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15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The incidence of cancer is rising but data available regarding prevalence of cancer and patient perception of the disease in Pakistan is limited. It is difficult to deal with Cancer if the main causes are negligence towards risk factors and bizarre myths. This study was aimed to investigate common cancer presentations at a government sector hospital and to gain insight into patient knowledge of the disease. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted on cancer patients from Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. A self-made questionnaire was used to assess the norms related to cancer prevalence in our society, associated myths, and the most common risk factors per them. Results: A total of 402 participants consented to participate in the study (mean age 42.3 ± 15.07 years), 204(50.7%) were females and 190(47.3%) were illiterate. Biomass exposure was found in 147(37%), drug abuse in 132(33%) and smoking in 63(16%). We found 103(25.6%) had positive family histories of cancer. The most common primary tumor site was breast for females 98(48%) and Head and neck 66(33.3%) for males. Patients considered fate 328(82%), gutka 284(71%) and injuries 282(70%) as the most common causes for cancer; while 222(55.5%) considered black magic and 236(58.75%) considered evil eye as a risk factor for cancer. Cancer treatment caused significant financial stress in 376(93.5%) patients. Conclusion: Breast and head and neck cancers were found to be prevalent among patients. It was noted that patients are negligent in daily life regarding the consumption of substances that commonly cause cancer. Individuals had diminished knowledge and majority linked cancer to unrelated causes and myths like black magic and fate. Almost all the patients complained of severe financial stress imposed by the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number360
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Myths
  • Prevalence
  • Risk factor

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