A Study to Determine Awareness Regarding Cancer Risk Factors and to Understand Cancer Treatment Preferences in General Population of Western Uttar Pradesh, India
Background: Cancer is an important public health problem in India. 2 to 2.5 million cancer cases are there in India. 7 - 9 lakh cancer cases are detected every year and two third of them are detected in advanced stages and one third die every year.
Objectives: To determine awareness regarding of cancer risk factors and to understand cancer treatment preferences in general population, in Western U.P.
Methodology: The present study was conducted at the Community Health Center, Gautam Buddha Nagar, UP, India. The data was collected from respondents 18 years and above and attended a day long Health camp. A pretested semi-structured questionnaire was used for the study. 330 respondents were included in the study after excluding nine questionnaires.
Results: Out of the total of 330 responses, males outnumbered the females. About 60.61 % respondents were from urban area as against 39.39 % respondents from the rural background. Almost one third respondents were illiterate. Of all the respondents, only 34.85% of were aware about at least one risk factor associated with cancer and the awareness was found to be better among males than females. The awareness of any of three cancer risks factors studied namely smoking, dietary habits and addiction, was found to be 21.2 %, 62.1 % and 12.1 percent respectively. The maximum number of respondents preferred allopathic treatment; though 16 % preferred treatment other than Allopathy, Homeopathy and Ayurveda. With increased levels of education, higher preference was given for allopathic treatment for cancer.
Discussion: In the present study only 34.85% of were aware about at least one risk factor associated with cancer and the awareness was found to be better among males. The present study shows that higher the level of education better is the awareness. Education appears to be a major factor for cancer awareness. It has been documented that awareness about cancer, its risk factors and their symptoms can lead to early clinical presentation. There is evidence that early diagnosis is particularly relevant for cancers of the breast, cervix, mouth, larynx, colon and rectum, and skin and at least onethird of all cancer cases are preventable through regular physical activity and the maintenance of a healthy body weight and healthy diet. More efforts have to be made to improve awareness regarding other risk factors of cancer and choice of preferred treatment.
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