Cancer prevention among residents: Practice and patterns.

Abstract

33 Background: At least a third of all cancer cases are preventable. Prevention offers the most cost-effective long- term strategy for the control of cancer; especially in resource deprived areas of the world. Tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world today. Dietary modification is another important approach to cancer control. Infectious agents are responsible for almost 22% of cancer death in the developing world and 6% in industrialized countries. This number is on the rise as result of HIV/AIDS pandemic, life style change and malnutrition. Residents constitute a very important arm of specialized cares in tertiary health institutions. They are the "gate-keepers" who are often the first to come in contact with patients that will benefit from cancer preventive measures. The purpose of this study is therefore, to examine the awareness, attitude and practice of cancer prevention by residents. METHODS Randomly selected residents from the major clinical oncology departments answered questionnaire that addressed these cancer prevention domains; awareness of behavioral modification and early screening, discussing cancer prevention with patients, and participating in screening for common cancer risk factors. RESULTS 77 out 100 questionnaire distributed were completed and returned; 77% response rate. 97% of the respondents are aware of cancer preventive measures but only 73% of these discussed the measures with patients. 9% of the respondents do not advise patient to quit smoking/not to smoke, only 22% advocate protection against sun, 23% do not advocate for early screening, and only 25% of the respondents themselves are screened for any of the common cancer risk factors while 74% are not. CONCLUSIONS There is significant awareness of cancer prevention measures but not all put this knowledge to practice. Only a quarter of the respondents are themselves screened. Further studies are needed to determine interventions that can improve resident's attitude to cancer prevention in resource deprived economy with rising prevalence of cancer. With improved training opportunities for cancer control among professionals, more cancers will be diagnosed via early screening and detection. No significant financial relationships to disclose.