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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-18

Health-Related Knowledge and Attitude Toward Common Cancers Among Slum Dwellers in Delhi

1 Physican, Maulana Azad Medical College and Associated Hospitals, New Delhi, India
2 Manager Epidemiologist, Piramal Foundation Delhi, India
3 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College and Associated Hospitals, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Bratati Banerjee
E-1803, Ajnara Homes, Ajnara Homes, Greater Noida West, UP
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mamcjms.mamcjms_59_18

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Background: The dead weight of growing incidence and mortality of cancer is a cause of concern for increased economic burden in a developing country. Low awareness levels lead to late presentation and high mortality. Lack of awareness vitiates the screening and early detection measures. Hence, assessment of prevalent knowledge and attitude is cardinal to outline and implement health policies appropriately. Objectives: This study aimed to assess the knowledge and attitude regarding risk factors and early warning signs of common cancers, viz. oral, lung, breast, and cervix, among urban slum dwellers in New Delhi. Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out in field practice area attached to the Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, using a pretested semistructured questionnaire to evaluate the awareness levels in 100 study participants. Mean scores and proportions were calculated and Chi square was applied to test the difference in awareness levels across various sociodemographic variables. Results: Unsatisfactory mean scores were obtained, both for knowledge regarding warning signs (3.20 out of 6) and risk factors (5.67 out of 10). Knowledge regarding screening was also poor. Females were significantly more aware regarding passive smoking as a risk factor for future development of cancer (P = 0.012) and prevalence of some cancers (P = 0.010). Conclusion: Low mean scores for knowledge regarding warning signs and risk factors depict a general unawareness. Media advertising and education seemed to play a positive role as more participants were aware of signs of oral cancer and younger population was better acquainted with risk factors further emphasizing the need for health education. There is also a need to strengthen the screening activities.

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