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Cancer Screening Knowledge and Attitudes of Under- and Post-Graduate Students at Kasr Al Ainy School of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt

  • Sedrak, Amal Samir (Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University) ;
  • Galal, Yasmine Samir (Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University) ;
  • Amin, Tarek Tawfik (Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University)
  • Published : 2016.08.01

Abstract

Background: Increasing knowledge and awareness of cancer screening significantly influence health promotion behavior which could markedly reduce incidence rates. In many countries, health care providers are the principal source of information concerning cancer screening. This study was carried out to assess the level of knowledge concerning cancer screening among medical students, house officers and residents and to explore their attitude towards cancer screening practices. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in Kasr Al Ainy Medical School at Cairo University in Egypt, with 300 undergraduate medical students and 150 postgraduates (interns and residents) enrolled. A pre-tested self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from the study participants regarding personal and education-related information, knowledge about cancer screening and its sources, and attitude towards cancer screening. Results: More than 64% of participants had knowledge scores of ${\leq}10$ points (out of 24). The total knowledge score (out of 6 points) for breast cancer screening increased from $1.9{\pm}1.0$ to $2.3{\pm}1.2$ and $2.4{\pm}1.1$ for $4^{th}$, $5^{th}$ and $6^{th}$ year respectively, interns showed the highest score of $2.6{\pm}1.1$, P= 0.001. Year of enrollment at medical school was a significant positive predictor of acquiring knowledge about cancer screening (post graduate vs. undergraduate students) (OR= 1.30, C.I =1.01-1.63), lack of or none receiving of orientation/training about cancer screening was the sole negative significant predictor for proper knowledge about cancer screening (OR=0.50, C.I=0.31-0.82). Over 92% of students agreed that they had insufficient knowledge about cancer screening, 88.2% appraised the need to have enough knowledge in order to direct/advice patients, relatives and friends, and 93.7% required that the faculty should emphasize the importance of cancer screening in the delivered curricula at medical school. Conclusions: A relatively low to moderate level of knowledge about cancer screening was detected among the selected medical students regardless of their year of enrollment at medical school or their graduation status, which may implicate a negative impact on early cancer detection especially in a low resource country like Egypt.

Keywords

Cancer screening;health promotion behaviors;knowledge;attitude;medical students

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