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


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.


  1. Al-Naggar RA, Bobryshev YV (2013). Knowledge of colorectal cancer screening among young Malaysians. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev, 14, 1969-74.
  2. American Cancer Society (2015). American Cancer Society Guidelines for the early detection of cancer. Accessed at screening guidelines/american-cancer-society-guidelinesfor-the-early-detection-of-cancer.
  3. Applebaum E, Ruhlen TN, Kronenberg FR, et al (2009). Oral cancer knowledge, attitudes and practices: a survey of dentists and primary care physicians in Massachusetts. J Am Dent Assoc, 140, 461-7.
  4. Bastani R, Glenn BA, Taylor VM, et al (2010). Integrating theory into community interventions to reduce liver cancer disparities: the health behavior framework. Prev Med, 50, 63-7.
  5. Berg AO (2008). Recommendations and rationale: screening for colorectal cancer. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Ann Intern Med, 149, 627-37.
  6. Berkowitz Z, Hawkins NA, Peipins LA, et al (2008). Beliefs, risk perceptions, and gaps in knowledge as barriers to colorectal cancer screening in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc, 56, 307-14.
  7. Boehler M, Advani V, Schwind CJ, et al (2011). Knowledge and attitudes regarding colorectal cancer screening among medical students: a tale of two schools. J Canc Educ, 26, 147-52.
  8. Cancer Research UK. Accessed at cancer-statistics/worldwide-cancer/mortality.
  9. Cialdella-Kam L, Sabado P, Bernstein L, et al (2012). Implementing cancer prevention into clinical practice. J Cancer Edu, 27, 136-43.
  10. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Dikshit R, et al (2015). Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: sources, methods and major patterns in Globocan 2012. Int J Cancer, 136, 359-86.
  11. Fitzmaurice C, Dicker D, Pain A, et al (2015). The global burden of cancer 2013. JAMA Oncol, 1, 505-27.
  12. Hauer KE, Wilkerson L, Teherani A (2008). The relationship between medical students’ knowledge, confidence, experience, and skills related to colorectal cancer screening. J cancer Edu, 4, 209-13.
  13. Jeeva I, Jayasawal R, Kermani N, et al (2007). Oncology curriculum in developing countries and the lessons to be learned. J Clin Oncol, 25, 12.
  14. Kumar S, Imam A, Manzoor, N, et al (2009). Knowledge, attitude and preventive practices for breast cancer among health care professionals at Aga Khan Hospital Karachi. J Pak Med Assoc, 59, 474-8.
  15. Marcella S, Delnevo CD, Coughlin SS (2007). A national survey of medical students’ beliefs and knowledge in screening for prostate cancer. J Gen Intern Med, 22, 80-5.
  16. Mongsawaeng C, Kokorn N, Kujapun J, et al (2016). Knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding cervical cancer among rural community women in Northeast Thailand. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev, 17, 85-8.
  17. Nekhlyudov L and Braddock CH 3rd (2009). An approach to enhance communication about screening mammography in primary care. J Womens Health, 18, 1403-12.
  18. Niv Yand Niv G (2004). Survey of surgeons' and internists' knowledge of colorectal cancer screening. Cancer Detect Prev, 28, 340-44.
  19. Owoeye IOG and Ibrahim IA (2013). Knowledge and attitude towards cervical cancer screening among female students and staff in a tertiary institution in the Niger Delta. Int J Med Biomed Res, 2, 48-56.
  20. Papanikolaou IS, Sioulas AD, Kalimeris S, et al (2012). Awareness and attitudes of Greek medical students on colorectal cancer screening. World J Gastrointest Endosc, 4, 513-7.
  21. Salminen E, Izewska J, Andreo P (2005). IAEA's role in the global management of cancer-focus on upgrading radiotherapy services. Acta Oncol, 44, 816-24.
  22. Soliman AS, Nasser SS, El-Hattab O, et al (2003). Cancer education in Medical, Nursing, and Pharmacy schools in Egypt: features applicable to other countries. J Cancer Edu, 18, 12-14.
  23. Sudenga SL, Rositch AF, Otieno WA, et al (2013). Knowledge, attitudes, practices, and perceived risk of cervical cancer among Kenyan women. Brief Report. Int J Gynecol Cancer, 23, 895-99.
  24. Sudo K, Xiao L, Wadhwa R, et al (2014). Importance of surveillance and success of salvage strategies after definitive chemoradiation in patients with esophageal cancer. J Clin Oncol, 32, 3400-5.
  25. Torre LA, Bray F, Siegel RL, et al (2015). Global cancer statistics, 2012. CA Cancer J Clin, 65, 87-108.
  26. Villarreal-Garza C, García-Aceituno L, Villa AR, et al (2010). Knowledge about cancer screening among medical students and internal medicine residents in Mexico City. J Cancer Educ, 25, 624-31.
  27. World Health Organization. The Global Burden of Disease: 2004 Update. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2008. Accessed at global_burden_disease/ GBD _ report_2004update/en/.