Cancer symptom and risk factor awareness in Malaysia: Findings from a nationwide cross-sectional study

Schliemann, Desiree and Ismail, Roshidi and Donnelly, Michael and Cardwell, Christopher R. and Su, Tin Tin (2020) Cancer symptom and risk factor awareness in Malaysia: Findings from a nationwide cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 20 (1). ISSN 1471-2458, DOI

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Background Cancer incidence in Malaysia is expected to double by 2040. Understanding cancer awareness is important in order to tailor preventative efforts and reduce the cancer burden. The objective of this research was to assess nationwide awareness about the signs and symptoms as well as risk factors for various cancers in Malaysia and identify socio-demographic factors associated with awareness. Methods This cross-sectional study was conducted from March-November 2014 in the form of a telephone survey. Participants aged 40 years and above were randomly selected across Malaysia and interviewed using the validated Awareness Beliefs about Cancer (ABC) measurement tool. Linear regression was conducted to test the association between symptom and risk factor recognition and socio-demographic variables. Results A sample of 1895 participants completed the survey. On average, participants recognised 5.8 (SD 3.2) out of 11 symptoms and 7.5 (SD 2.7) out of 12 risk factors. The most commonly recognised symptom was `lump or swelling' (74.5%) and the most commonly recognised risk factor was `smoking' (88.7%). Factors associated with prompted awareness were age, ethnicity, education and smoking status. Conclusion Recognition of symptom and risk factors for most cancers was relatively low across Malaysia compared to previous studies in high-income countries and to studies conducted in Malaysia. There is a need to conduct regular public health campaigns and interventions designed to improve cancer awareness and knowledge as a first step towards increasing the early detection of cancer.

Item Type: Article
Funders: Universiti Malaya, UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) Medical Research Council UK (MRC) (MR/P013910/1)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cancer awareness; Signs; Symptoms; Risk factors; Malaysia; ABC measurement tool
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine
Depositing User: Ms Zaharah Ramly
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2022 07:56
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2022 07:57

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