BACKGROUND: Awareness regarding cancer signs and symptoms and their screening and treatment
method was low in India.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the awareness level of common cancers, perception regarding prevention
and treatment of common cancers, association between sociodemographic variables with the
awareness level of common cancers in the adult population.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross‑sectional study was conducted among 299 adults from the
field practice areas of Our Rural Health Centre, Puducherry, during April–May 2014. Using systematic
random sampling, 299 adults were interviewed through a pretested semi‑structured questionnaire.
Data were entered into EpiData version 3.1 and were analyzed by Statistical Package for Social
Sciences version 20. Chi‑square test was used.
RESULTS: Nearly, 64% were in the age group of ≥40 years, the majorities were
females (56.2%) and 64% were in lower socioeconomic class. Symptoms reported majorities
were unusual bleeding (41.6%), followed by nagging cough (34.1%). Risk factors reported
majorities were smoking (65%), chewing tobacco (59%) followed by alcohol use (46.5%).
Only 10% reported cancer could be diagnosed early and 27% perceived cancer could be
preventable. Only 6% perceived cancer could be cured fully. The adequate awareness level
regarding lung and oral cancer were 14%, but breast and cervical cancer were <5%. The
younger age group (<40 years) had more adequate awareness level compared to age group
≥40 years (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: The awareness level of common cancers was very poor. Vigorous health education
program should improve the status of early diagnosis and proper treatment for common cancers
such as oral, breast, and cervical cancer.


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