Document Type : Original Article



BACKGROUND: Patients with cancer often delay seeking medical advice in developing
countries. In India, only 20%–30% of cancers are being diagnosed in Stages I and II.
Screening for red flag symptoms of cancer can be used to identify high‑risk individuals in the
METHODOLOGY: A community‑based cross‑sectional study was conducted in February 2017
among 302 participants in one of the service areas of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical
Education and Research urban health center selected by universal sampling. Data on the presence
of red flag symptoms of cancer (persistent cough, persistent change in bowel/bladder habits,
nonhealing ulcer, persistent difficulty in swallowing, unexplained weight loss, unexplained lump,
persistent unexplained pain, unexplained bleeding, and change in the appearance of mole) and
presence of risk factors were collected through interviews. The collected data were entered using
EpiData version 3.0.
RESULTS: The mean (standard deviation) age of the study participants was 44 (11) years and 50.6%
of them were male. At least one red flag symptom of cancer was present in 22 (7.3%) individuals;
9 (2.8%) had unexplained pain, 4 (1.3%) had change in bowel habits, 4 (1.3%) had change in bladder
habits, 3 (1%) had cough, 3 (1%) had nonhealing ulcer, 2 (0.6%) had unexplained bleeding, 1 (0.3%)
had difficulty in swallowing, 1 (0.3%) had weight loss, 1 (0.3%) had lump, and 1 (0.3%) had change
in the appearance of mole.
CONCLUSION: Screening for red flag symptoms of cancer is an easy tool that can be used in the community
to identify high‑risk individuals, which will facilitate early diagnosis of cancer.


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