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1.  Awareness Levels about Breast Cancer Risk Factors, Early Warning Signs, and Screening and Therapeutic Approaches among Iranian Adult Women: A large Population Based Study Using Latent Class Analysis 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:306352.
Background and Objective. Breast cancer (BC) continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality among women throughout the world and in Iran. Lack of awareness and early detection program in developing country is a main reason for escalating the mortality. The present research was conducted to assess the Iranian women's level of knowledge about breast cancer risk factors, early warning signs, and therapeutic and screening approaches, and their correlated determinants. Methods. In a cross-sectional study, 2250 women before participating at a community based screening and public educational program in an institute of cancer research in Isfahan, Iran, in 2012 were investigated using a self-administered questionnaire about risk factors, early warning signs, and therapeutic and screening approaches of BC. Latent class regression as a comprehensive statistical method was used for evaluating the level of knowledge and its correlated determinants. Results. Only 33.2%, 31.9%, 26.7%, and 35.8% of study participants had high awareness levels about screening approaches, risk factors, early warning signs and therapeutic modalities of breast cancer, respectively, and majority had poor to moderate knowledge levels. Most effective predictors of high level of awareness were higher educational qualifications, attending in screening and public educational programs, personal problem, and family history of BC, respectively. Conclusion. Results of current study indicated that the levels of awareness among study population about key elements of BC are low. These findings reenforce the continuing need for more BC education through conducting public and professional programs that are intended to raise awareness among younger, single women and those with low educational attainments and without family history.
PMCID: PMC4180890  PMID: 25295257
2.  Level of colorectal cancer awareness: a cross sectional exploratory study among multi-ethnic rural population in Malaysia 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:376.
This paper presents the level of colorectal cancer awareness among multi-ethnic rural population in Malaysia.
A rural-based cross sectional survey was carried out in Perak state in Peninsular Malaysia in March 2011. The survey recruited a population-representative sample using multistage sampling. Altogether 2379 participants were included in this study. Validated bowel/colorectal cancer awareness measure questionnaire was used to assess the level of colorectal cancer awareness among study population. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was done to identify socio-demographic variance of knowledge score on warning signs and risk factors of colorectal cancer.
Among respondents, 38% and 32% had zero knowledge score for warning signs and risk factors respectively. Mean knowledge score for warning signs and risk factors were 2.89 (SD 2.96) and 3.49 (SD 3.17) respectively. There was a significant positive correlation between the knowledge score of warning signs and level of confidence in detecting a warning sign. Socio-demographic characteristics and having cancer in family and friends play important role in level of awareness.
Level of awareness on colorectal cancer warning signs and risk factors in the rural population of Malaysia is very low. Therefore, it warrants an extensive health education campaign on colorectal cancer awareness as it is one of the commonest cancer in Malaysia. Health education campaign is urgently needed because respondents would seek medical attention sooner if they are aware of this problem.
PMCID: PMC3750380  PMID: 23924238
Colorectal cancer; Rural population; Cancer awareness; Bowel/colorectal CAM
3.  Breast cancer in Iran: need for greater women awareness of warning signs and effective screening methods 
Breast cancer remains an important public health problem. This study aimed to investigate about female knowledge of breast cancer and self-reported practice of breast self-examination in Iran.
This was a population-based survey carried out in Tehran, Iran. Data were collected via a structured questionnaire containing 15 questions on demographic status, history of personal and family breast problems, subjective knowledge about breast cancer covering its symptoms, the screening methods and practice of breast self-examination (BSE). A trained female nurse interviewed each respondent. Analysis included descriptive statistics and the Chi-squared test where necessary.
A total of 1402 women were interviewed. The mean age of respondents was 43.4 (SD = 14.4) years; most were married (85%), and without any personal (94%) and family history (90%) of breast problems. It was found that 64% of the respondents were familiar with breast cancer and 61% (n = 851) believed that 'the disease is relatively common among women in Iran'. Most women (44%) perceived a painless mass as a breast cancer symptom. Overall, 61% of the respondents stated that they knew about breast cancer screening programs and most indicated that electronic media (television 34% and radio 14%) were their source of information. Only 17% of women said that 'they were conducting regular breast self-examination'. The main reason for women not doing breast self-examination was due to the fact that they did not know how to do it (64%). The findings indicated that performing breast self-examination is significantly related to: age, marital status, education, knowledge of breast cancer and knowledge about breast cancer screening programs (p < 0.05), but not to personal (P = 0.2) and family (P = 0.7) history of breast problems.
This descriptive study provides useful information that could be utilized by both researchers and those involved in public health programmes. The findings indicated that the women awareness of breast cancer warning signs (painless lump, retraction of nipple, and bloody discharge) and effective screening methods i.e. clinical examination, and mammography were very inadequate. Thus, health education programmes to rectify the lack of women awareness is urgently needed. Indeed the focus of primary health care providers should be to raise awareness about breast care among women and to encourage them to report any unusual changes in their breasts to their family or care physicians.
PMCID: PMC2628874  PMID: 19099595
4.  The Impacts of Cigarette Packaging Pictorial Warning Labels on Smokers in the City of Tehran 
Tanaffos  2011;10(1):40-47.
Cigarette smoking is considered the first preventable cause of death in the world. Social, familial, and personal factors play an important role in prevention or cessation of smoking. Educating the public in order to enhance their knowledge, change their attitude and improve their habits is also effective in this respect. In 2007, the executive protocol of the Comprehensive Law on Smoking Control was compiled in the Ministry of Health and according to the Article 5 of this law pictorial health warning labels had to be applied on cigarette packaging. This study was designed and conducted in 2 phases of before and 9 months after the implementation of this law and evaluated the effect of it on smokers’ knowledge, attitude and pattern of smoking.
Materials and Methods
This was a cross-sectional descriptive study conducted to evaluate the effect of cigarette packs’ pictorial health warning labels on the knowledge, attitude and smoking pattern of smokers residing in Tehran. After calculating the size of understudy population and estimation of the exclusions, 1731 subjects were randomly selected using the multiphase cluster method from the 22 districts of Tehran. Data were collected using a questionnaire designed according to the standard questionnaire of the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD). Qualitative and quantitative value and reliability of the variables including cigarette consumption, knowledge about the law, and pattern of smoking were evaluated in 2 phases and the quality of pictures and their effects on the mentioned variables were assessed in the 2nd phase.
Before adopting the pictorial warning labels in the first phase of the study, 1731 respondents were evaluated out of which 71.8% were males and 28.2% were females. These cases had an average of 17.6±12.3 years history of smoking. A total of 38% (675 subjects) used Iranian cigarette brands and 39.5% were aware of the implementation of pictorial health warning labels on cigarette packs. In terms of smokers’ attitude towards the implementation of this law, they mostly had no opinion about it. A total of 33.3% stated that they may cut down on smoking as the result of this law. Men had a higher percentage of smoking a cigarette first thing in the morning before breakfast and women had a higher rate of consuming foreign cigarette brands (P < 0.001). In the second phase of the study, 1590 cases of the phase 1 subjects participated. Subjects had a significantly higher knowledge about the implementation of pictorial health warning labels on cigarette packs (P < 0.001). Attitude towards this law did not change significantly compared to the first phase although the mean score improved by 0.07%. Enforcement of this law resulted in decreased consumption in 7.6% of the participants. However, the Wilcoxon test did not show any significant difference. In terms of the quality of pictures, 61.6% had no opinion, and 28.7% expressed that the pictures had poor quality. No significant difference was observed between the Iranian or foreign brands in terms of smoking rate after applying the pictorial warning labels.
We believed that the smoking rate would decrease after applying the pictorial health warning labels on cigarette packs. However, it did not happen. Also, adopting these labels did not have a significant effect on smokers changing their favorite brand from Iranian to foreign brands or vice versa. Type and quality of pictures require major revision and corrections.
PMCID: PMC4153127  PMID: 25191350
Tobacco; Health warnings labels; Tehran residents
5.  Awareness and correlates of the role of physical activity in breast cancer prevention among Japanese women: results from an internet-based cross-sectional survey 
BMC Women's Health  2014;14:80.
Although considerable evidence has demonstrated that physical activity is associated with breast cancer prevention, few studies have assessed the level of awareness of this association. Awareness is a key first step to successful of behavior change. Increasing awareness may contribute to promote physical activity and prevent breast cancer at the population level. The present study examined the prevalence and correlates of awareness about the role of physical activity in breast cancer prevention among Japanese women.
1,000 Japanese women aged 20–69 years (mean age: 44.3 ± 13.4 years) who responded to an internet-based cross-sectional survey. Awareness of the role of physical activity in breast cancer prevention, knowledge of breast cancer (symptom, risk factor, screening), exposure to information about physical activity and cancer, a self-reported physical activity, and sociodemographic variables (age, marital status, having a child, education level, employment status, and household income) were obtained. Force-entry logistic regression analysis was used.
The prevalence of awareness was 31.5% (95% CI: 28.6-34.4). Factors significantly associated with awareness included sociodemographic variables, exposure to information, and knowledge of breast cancer. Being married (AOR, 95% CI: 1.75, 1.05–2.92) was positively related to awareness, while having children (0.65, 0.36–0.86) was negatively related. College graduates or those with higher levels of education (1.50, 1.01–2.22) were significantly more likely to be aware than those who had not graduated high school. Moreover, exposure to information (2.11, 1.51–2.95), and high knowledge of symptoms (2.43, 1.75–3.36) were positively associated with awareness. Finally, low knowledge of risk factors (0.30, 0.22–0.40) was negatively associated with awareness.
Japanese women through internet-based study were poorly aware of the role of physical activity in breast cancer prevention. Awareness was especially low among individuals with children and higher knowledge of risk factors whereas high in married women, those with higher educational level, exposure to information, and greater knowledge of symptoms. The findings suggest that strategies to increase the awareness about the preventive role of physical activity are needed for breast cancer prevention in consideration of subgroups with low awareness.
PMCID: PMC4105529  PMID: 24998296
Breast cancer; Physical activity; Cancer prevention; Health communication; Awareness; Correlates
6.  Assessing awareness of colorectal cancer symptoms: Measure development and results from a population survey in the UK 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:366.
This paper describes the development of a Cancer Awareness Measure for colorectal (CRC) cancer (Bowel/Colorectal CAMa) (study 1) and presents key results from a population-representative survey using the measure (study 2).
Study 1
Items were taken from the literature and reviewed by expert groups. A series of three validation studies assessed reliability and validity of the measure. To establish test-retest reliability, 49 people over 50 years of age completed the Bowel/Colorectal CAM on two occasions (range 9-14 days, mean 13.5 days). Construct validity was assessed by comparing responses from bowel cancer experts (n = 16) and the lay public (n = 35). Lastly, a brief intervention study tested sensitivity to change with participants (n = 70) randomly allocated to be given a control leaflet or an intervention leaflet and their responses were compared.
Study 2
1520 respondents completed the Bowel/Colorectal CAM in a population survey carried out by TNS-British Market Research Bureau International (TNS-BMRB) in March 2010.
Study 1
Internal reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.84) was high. Test-retest reliability was over r = 0.7 for warning signs, risk factors and age people are first invited for screening, but lower (between 0.6 and 0.7) for other items (lifetime risk, awareness of bowel cancer screening, age at risk). Bowel cancer experts achieved higher scores than equally educated controls (54.7 [4.3] vs. 42.9 [5.7]; P < 0.001) demonstrating the measure has construct validity and intervention participants showed higher knowledge than controls (51.4 [5.9] vs. 42.9 [5.7]; P < 0.001) suggesting the measure is sensitive to change.
Study 2
Respondents recalled on average, one CRC sign and one risk factor. There was particularly low prompted awareness of the signs 'lump in the abdomen' (64%) and 'tiredness' (50%) and several lifestyle risk factors for CRC, e.g. exercise (37%).
Respondents from more affluent groups had consistently higher knowledge of signs and risk factors compared to those from more deprived groups.
The Bowel/Colorectal CAM meets accepted psychometric criteria for reliability and construct validity and should therefore provide a useful tool for assessment of CRC awareness. The population survey revealed low awareness of several CRC signs and risk factors and emphasises the importance of continuing public education, particularly about the link between lifestyle behaviours and CRC.
PMCID: PMC3188511  PMID: 21859500
7.  Fishing, fish consumption, and awareness about warnings in a university community in central New Jersey in 2007, and comparisons with 2004 
Environmental research  2008;108(1):107-116.
Fish are a healthy source of protein, but the risks from consuming fish have become a national concern. Over the past 7 years, there have been a number of national advisories regarding saltwater fish. Fish consumption patterns and public knowledge about advisories and warnings have been examined for at-risk populations, but there is little information about the latter for a general population, or of temporal trends in such information acquisition. Information about the benefits and health risks of consuming fish, health warnings from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Food and Drug Administration, belief in these warnings, and trust in different sources of information were examined in a sample of 460 people within a university community in central New Jersey in 2007. The null hypothesis of no differences in fishing, consumption, and knowledge about advisories as a function of age, gender, ethnicity, and education was tested. In 2007, only 30% of the study population fished, and 83% of the study population ate fish, either commercial or self-caught. There were differences in fishing behavior, consumption patterns, and awareness of advisories as a function of gender, ethnicity, age, and education. Most notably, nearly twice as many men as women fished, Whites fished more and Blacks and Indian/Pakistanis fished less than other ethnic groups, and people aged 23–35 fished more than did others. About 8% of fish meals were from self-caught fish, 32% were eaten in restaurants, and 60% were of fish bought in stores and cooked at home. Men ate more meals of self-caught fish than did females, and Asians ate more meals of fish in restaurants, and Blacks ate more meals of store-bought fish than other ethnic groups. The total number of fish meals consumed per month increased significantly with age. Overall, more people had heard about the benefits (92%) than the risks (78%) of fish consumption. When asked whom they trust for information about health benefits and risks from eating fish, doctors were rated the highest, followed by professors; friends and fishermen were rated the lowest. We then examined whether there were any changes from 2004 to 2007 in the knowledge of the health benefits and warnings about fish consumption, and the trustworthiness of different sources of information. In other words, have communication efforts of the state and federal agencies resulted in any appreciable increase in overall awareness of the benefits or risks of fish consumption. The greatest change in the parameters examined from 2004 to 2007 was an overall decrease in fish consumption from an average of 7.9 meals per month in 2004 to about six meals per month in 2007. This suggests that the unintended effect of some of the warnings and advisories is to decrease overall fish consumption, rather than to switch from fish species with high levels of contaminants to those with low levels.
PMCID: PMC4026092  PMID: 18632098
Fishing; Fish consumption; Warnings; Advisories; FDA; Credibility; Trust; Temporal changes; New Jersey; Decreasing fish consumption
8.  Awareness of the Warning Signs, Risk Factors, and Treatment for Tuberculosis among Urban Nigerians 
Objectives. To determine the awareness of the warning signs, risk factors, and treatment of tuberculosis among urban Nigerians. Methods. This was a cross-sectional survey among 574 adults in Ilorin, Nigeria. Semistructured questionnaire was administered by trained interviewers to obtain information about awareness of tuberculosis warning signs, risk factors, and treatment. Results. Majority of the subjects (71.4%) were aware of at least one warning sign of tuberculosis. Cough (66.2%), weight loss (38.0%), and haemoptysis (30.7%) were the most identified warning signs. The predictors of awareness of warning sign were increasing age (r + 0.12), higher family income (r + 0.10), higher level of education (r + 0.10), and belonging to Christian faith (r + 0.11). Awareness of risk factors for tuberculosis was higher for tobacco smokers (77.0%) and history of contact with a case of TB (76.0%). Less than half were aware of HIV infection (49.8%), alcohol consumption (42.5%), chronic kidney disease (40.4%), extremes of ages (39.4%), cancers (36.9%), and diabetes mellitus (27.5%) as risk factors for TB. Tuberculosis was reported to be curable by 74.6% of the subjects and 67.9% knew that there are medications for treatment of tuberculosis, while 11.5% knew the duration of treatment. Conclusion. This study has revealed that the awareness of HIV and noncommunicable diseases as risk factors for TB is poor. This study has therefore demonstrated the need for health education programs that will emphasize recognition, identification, and modification of risk factor for TB.
PMCID: PMC3557638  PMID: 23401764
9.  Knowledge of Thrombolytic Therapy for Acute Ischemic Stroke among Community Residents in Western Urban China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107892.
Background and Purpose
Thrombolytic therapy rate for acute ischemic stroke remains low, and improving public awareness of thrombolytic therapy may be helpful to reduce delay and increase chances of thrombolytic therapy. Our purpose was to survey the level of knowledge about thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke among community residents in Yuzhong district, Chongqing, China.
In 2011, a population-based face-to-face interview survey was conducted in Yuzhong district, Chongqing. A total of 1500 potential participants aged ≥18 years old were selected using a multi-stage sampling method.
A total of 1101 participants completed the survey. Only 23.3% (95% CI = 20.8 to 25.8) were aware of thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke, of whom 59.9% (95% CI = 53.9 to 65.9) knew the time window. Awareness of thrombolytic therapy was higher among young people, those with higher levels of education and household income, those with health insurance, and those who knew all 5 stroke warning signs, while awareness of the time window was higher among those aged 75 years or older. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that awareness of thrombolytic therapy was independently associated with age, education level, health insurance and knowledge of stroke warning signs (P<0.05).
In this population-based survey the community residents have poor awareness of thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke.
PMCID: PMC4164641  PMID: 25222126
10.  Determinants of Cervical screening services uptake among 18–49 year old women seeking services at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kisumu, Kenya 
Kenyan women aged ≥15 years are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Currently, cervical cytology reduces cervical cancer incidence, since it allows for early diagnosis and treatment. Uptake of cervical screening services is a priority research area in Kenya. Central to the success of any screening programme is its ability to identify, reach out and screen the defined target population. Cervical screening coverage in Kenya is currently at 3.2%. In Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) in Nyanza, the number screened for cervical cancer is low (averagely 3/day). Thus the current study sought to identify factors influencing uptake of cervical screening services at the facility.
In a cross-sectional study, knowledge, perceptions and cues for action associated with self-reported cervical screening uptake were explored. The targeted population (n = 424), purposively selected were women of child-bearing age (18–49 years) visiting JOOTRH. Data on socio-demographic status (age, level of education, marital status, job status, income level), knowledge of cervical cancer, perceptions on severity and susceptibility to the disease were collected using self-administered structured questionnaires. Statistical significance of differences in proportions were determined by chi-square analyses while logistic regression analyses were used to identify determinants of self-reported uptake of the service.
Self-reported screening uptake was 17.5%. There was a strong positive association between age (P < 0.0001), level of education (P < 0.0001) and income levels (P = 0.005) with the uptake of the service. Knowledge level on the signs and symptoms of cervical cancer was an important determinant for being screened for cervical cancer (P < 0.0001). Furthermore, those who said they didn’t know about the disease (OR, 26.84, 95% CI, 6.07-118.61, P < 0.0001) or were not aware about susceptibility to it (OR, 2.37, 95% CI, 1.10-5.08, P = 0.02) had a higher likelihood of not being screened. On cues for action, those who attended the child welfare clinic were more likely to be screened (OR, 2.31, 95% CI, 1.17-3.93, P = 0.03).
Knowledge, perception of higher susceptibility and attending child welfare clinic are key determinants of self-reported uptake of cervical screening. Increasing knowledge, enhancing health education and providing free services may increase uptake among women population in such settings.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-335) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4271847  PMID: 25100298
Cervical; Women; Screening services; Determinants; Kenya
11.  Stroke awareness in the general population: knowledge of stroke risk factors and warning signs in older adults 
BMC Geriatrics  2009;9:35.
Stroke is a leading cause of death and functional impairment. While older people are particularly vulnerable to stroke, research suggests that they have the poorest awareness of stroke warning signs and risk factors. This study examined knowledge of stroke warning signs and risk factors among community-dwelling older adults.
Randomly selected community-dwelling older people (aged 65+) in Ireland (n = 2,033; 68% response rate). Participants completed home interviews. Questions assessed knowledge of stroke warning signs and risk factors, and personal risk factors for stroke.
Of the overall sample, 6% had previously experienced a stroke or transient ischaemic attack. When asked to identify stroke risk factors from a provided list, less than half of the overall sample identified established risk factors (e.g., smoking, hypercholesterolaemia), hypertension being the only exception (identified by 74%). Similarly, less than half identified established warning signs (e.g., weakness, headache), with slurred speech (54%) as the exception. Overall, there were considerable gaps in awareness with poorest levels evident in those with primary level education only and in those living in Northern Ireland (compared with Republic of Ireland).
Knowledge deficits in this study suggest that most of the common early symptoms or signs of stroke were recognized as such by less than half of the older adults surveyed. As such, many older adults may not recognise early symptoms of stroke in themselves or others. Thus, they may lose vital time in presenting for medical attention. Lack of public awareness about stroke warning signs and risk factors must be addressed as one important contribution to reducing mortality and morbidity from stroke.
PMCID: PMC2734750  PMID: 19656359
12.  Low Levels of Awareness Despite High Prevalence of Schistosomiasis among Communities in Nyalenda Informal Settlement, Kisumu City, Western Kenya 
Intestinal schistosomiasis is widely distributed around Lake Victoria in Kenya where about 16 million people in 56 districts are at risk of the infection with over 9.1 million infected. Its existence in rural settings has been extensively studied compared to urban settings where there is limited information about the disease coupled with low level of awareness. This study therefore assessed community awareness on existence, signs and symptoms, causes, transmission, control and risk factors for contracting schistosomiasis as well as attitudes, health seeking behaviour and environmental antecedents that affect its control so as to identify knowledge gaps that need to be addressed in order to strengthen schistosomiasis control interventions in informal urban settings.
The study was carried out in an informal urban settlement where the prevalence of intestinal schistosomiasis was previously reported to be the highest (36%) among the eight informal settlements of Kisumu city. The study adopted cross-sectional design and purposive sampling technique. Eight focus group discussions were conducted with adult community members and eight key informant interviews with opinion leaders. Data was audio recorded transcribed, coded and thematically analyzed using ATLAS.ti version 6 software.
Most respondents stated having heard about schistosomiasis but very few had the correct knowledge of signs and symptoms, causes, transmission and control of schistosomiasis. However, there was moderate knowledge of risk factors and at high risk groups. Their attitudes towards schistosomiasis and its control were generally indifferent with a general belief that they had no control over their environmental circumstances to reduce transmission.
Although schistosomiasis was prevalent in the study area, majority of the people in the community had low awareness. This study, therefore, stresses the need for health education to raise community's awareness on schistosomiasis in such settings in order to augment prevention, control and elimination efforts.
Author Summary
Bilharzia also known as schistosomiasis is one of the neglected tropical diseases found in western part of Kenya. The major source of infection is Lake Victoria; however, there is evidence of inland transmission especially within the informal settlements of Kisumu city. Schistosomiasis can be controlled using three key approaches which include improved sanitation, health education and mass treatment with praziquantel. Additional interventions for infection prevention include: promotion of hygiene, access to safe water, and sanitation improvement and environmental management. However, the success of control initiatives involving the community depend on the level of the communities' uptake of the program, which is hinged upon understanding the community knowledge and practices towards the disease. This study therefore collected information from the community to assess level of awareness of schistosomiasis. The findings revealed a low level of awareness in spite of a high prevalence of schistosomiasis. These findings are invaluable in the designing of appropriate education messages targeted at raising community awareness on schistosomiasis and relevant behavioural change required for a successful control programme.
PMCID: PMC3974654  PMID: 24699502
13.  Level of awareness of mammography among women attending outpatient clinics in a teaching hospital in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:40.
Mammography has been used in developed countries with considerable success but very little is known about this imaging modality in low resource settings. This study examined the level of awareness of mammography and determined factors influencing the level of awareness.
We conducted a hospital based cross sectional study to investigate the level of awareness of mammography among 818 randomly selected women attending the General Outpatient clinics (GOP) of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Nigeria. Independent predictors of level of awareness of mammography were identified using multiple logistic regression analysis.
The proportion of women who ever heard of mammography was 5%, and they demonstrated poor knowledge of the procedure. Those with primary or secondary levels of education were about three times less likely to be aware of mammography when compared with those with tertiary level of education (OR = 0.3, 95% CI, 0.12 – 0.73). Also, participation in community breast cancer prevention activities (OR = 3.4, 95% CI, 1.39 – 8.36), and previous clinical breast examination (OR = 2.34, 95% CI, 1.10 – 4.96) independently predicted mammography awareness. Newspapers and magazines appeared to be the most important sources of information about mammography screening.
The level of awareness of mammography is poor among women attending outpatient clinics in the studied population. Interventions promoting awareness of this screening procedure should give particular attention to the illiterate and older women while clinicians performing breast examinations should utilize the opportunity to inform women about the mammography procedure. Promotion of educational articles on breast cancer and its screening methods via media remains vital for the literate.
PMCID: PMC3679823  PMID: 23324312
Mammography; Women; Awareness; Nigeria
14.  Knowledge of Risk Factors and Warning Signs of Stroke 
In this review, we have summarized the findings of fifteen studies of knowledge of stroke warning signs and risk factors in both high- and low-risk populations. In general, there appears to be low levels of knowledge of both risk factors and stroke warning signs among the communities studied. Using free recall, between 20% and 30% of respondents could not name a single risk factor, and between 10% and 60% could not name a single warning sign of stroke. Providing survey respondents with a list of potential warning signs substantially improved the identification of warning signs. Respondents in older age groups and having lower levels of educational attainment tended to have less knowledge of risk factors and warning signs of stroke than those in younger age groups and those with more education. Public campaigns to improve stroke knowledge are needed, particularly in the older age groups where the risk of stroke is greater.
PMCID: PMC1993942  PMID: 17315400
stroke; awareness; risk factors; knowledge; survey
15.  Self-reported awareness of the presence of product warning messages and signs by Hispanics in San Francisco. 
Public Health Reports  1994;109(2):275-283.
This study investigated the self-reported awareness of the presence of product warning messages and signs among random samples of Hispanics in San Francisco surveyed in 1990 and in 1991. The messages that were tested related to cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, and other consumer products. A random sample of 1,204 Hispanics (43.5 percent males) were interviewed by telephone in 1990. The corresponding figure for the second survey in 1991 was 1,569 Hispanics (41.1 percent males). In general, respondents reported low levels of awareness of the presence of product warning messages and signs. The exception was warning messages on cigarette packets which approximately 70 percent of the respondents reported having seen within the 12 months before the survey. There was an increase from 1990 to 1991 in the reported awareness of warning messages for wine, beer, and cigarettes. Smokers and drinkers of alcoholic beverages reported the highest levels of awareness of the relevant warning messages and signs. Length of exposure to warning messages and multiplicity of sources (for example, advertisements and products) seem to produce greater levels of awareness of the presence of product warning messages. Less acculturated, Spanish-speaking Hispanics are less likely to report being aware of the warnings, particularly those that appear only in English (for example, alcoholic beverages).
PMCID: PMC1403486  PMID: 8153279
16.  No difference in stroke knowledge between Korean adherents to traditional and western medicine – the AGE study: an epidemiological study 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:153.
Effective stroke intervention and risk reduction depend on the general public's awareness and knowledge of stroke. In Korea, where both traditional Oriental medicine and Western medicine are practiced, estimates of the general public's awareness and knowledge of stroke are poor. The present study sought to describe the inception cohort of the Ansan Geriatric Study (AGE study) and to determine baseline stroke awareness and preferred medical treatment for stroke in this Korean sample.
A total of 2,767 subjects selected randomly from the Ansan Geriatric Study in South Korea were questioned about stroke. Their answers were compared with their sociodemographic data and other variables.
Only 44.8% of participants correctly identified stroke as a vascular disease in the human brain. Sudden numbness or weakness was the most frequently identified stroke warning sign (60.2%). Hypertension (66.7%) and mental stress (62.2%) were most frequently identified as stroke risk factors. The contributions of diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease to stroke were underestimated; they were identified as risk factors by 28.3% and 18.6% of participants, respectively. The predictors for poor knowledge of stroke warning signs and risk factors were similar irrespective of preference for Western or Oriental medical treatment, and included those with lower levels of education and inaccurate definition of stroke. Television and radio (40.3%) were the most frequent sources of stroke information for both groups.
This study shows that knowledge of stroke is similar among Koreans with preferences for either Western or Oriental medical treatment and that misunderstandings about stroke are common among the Korean elderly. In order to prevent and manage stroke effectively, public health education regarding basic concepts of stroke is necessary. This should target those with a lower level of education and a misunderstanding of the definition of stroke.
PMCID: PMC1550724  PMID: 16772038
17.  Awareness of breast cancer among adolescent girls in Colombo, Sri Lanka: a school based study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1209.
Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women worldwide. Although programmes promoting breast cancer awareness are being carried out throughout Sri Lanka, few have targeted school students. We conducted this study to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding breast cancer with reference to screening, services available, breast self-examination, and sources of information, among adolescent schoolgirls in the Colombo District of Sri Lanka.
The knowledge, attitudes and practices related to breast cancer were assessed among 859 adolescent girls in schools within the Colombo District, using a self-administered questionnaire. Classes and students were selected using multi-stage stratified cluster sampling.
Of the total sample, approximately 60% of respondents identified ‘history of breast lump’, ‘family history of breast cancer’ & ‘exposure to irradiation’ as risk factors for breast cancer. Although most were aware that the presence of a breast lump was an important warning sign, awareness of other warning signs was poor. Only 35.6% identified mammogram as an effective screening method. One third of the sample maintained that they are unaware of symptoms, diagnostics and treatment of breast cancer. Of those who were aware, 90.6% named surgery as a treatment option for breast cancer, 79.4% were unaware that chemotherapy is used. Of the total sample, 17.1% knew how to perform breast self-examination, and only 9.4% were aware of currently available breast cancer screening services. Knowledge was significantly better among students who had a relative with breast cancer.
There were significant deficiencies in knowledge, attitudes and practices on breast cancer in the study population. In particular, knowledge on breast self examination was poor. There is a need for awareness programs aimed specifically at this important target group.
PMCID: PMC3906911  PMID: 24359310
Adolescents; Breast cancer; Breast self examination
18.  Rural Community Knowledge of Stroke Warning Signs and Risk Factors 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2005;2(2):A14.
Rapid identification and treatment of ischemic stroke can lead to improved patient outcomes. Public education campaigns in selected communities have helped to increase knowledge about stroke, but most data represent large metropolitan centers working with academic institutions. Much less is known about knowledge of stroke among residents in rural communities.
In 2004, 800 adults aged 45 years and older from two Montana counties participated in a telephone survey using unaided questions to assess awareness of stroke warning signs and risk factors. The survey also asked respondents if they had a history of atrial fibrillation, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, heart disease, or stroke.
More than 70% of survey participants were able to correctly report two or more warning signs for stroke: numbness on any side of the face/body (45%) and speech difficulties (38%) were reported most frequently. More than 45% were able to correctly report two or more stroke risk factors: smoking (50%) and high blood pressure (44%) were reported most frequently. Respondents aged 45 to 64 years (odds ratio [OR] 2.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.78–3.46), women (OR 2.02; 95% CI, 1.46–2.80), those with 12 or more years of education (OR 1.96; 95% CI, 1.08–3.56), and those with high cholesterol (OR 1.68; 95% CI, 1.17–2.42) were more likely to correctly identify two or more warning signs compared with respondents without these characteristics. Women (OR 1.48; 95% CI, 1.07–2.05) and respondents aged 45 to 64 years (OR 1.35; 95% CI, 1.01–1.81) were also more likely to correctly identify two or more stroke risk factors compared with men and older respondents.
Residents of two rural counties were generally aware of stroke warning signs, but their knowledge of stroke risk factors was limited.
PMCID: PMC1327708  PMID: 15888225
19.  Determinants of glaucoma awareness and knowledge in urban Chennai 
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology  2009;57(5):355-360.
To assess the awareness and knowledge levels about glaucoma and its determinants in an urban population of Chennai in south India.
Materials and Methods:
Chennai glaucoma study (CGS) was a population based prevalence study to estimate the prevalence of glaucoma in a rural and urban south Indian population. A total of 3850 subjects aged 40 years or above participated in the urban arm of CGS. A systematic random sample of 1926 (50.0%) subjects completed a questionnaire that assesses their awareness and knowledge level of glaucoma. Respondents “having heard of glaucoma” even before they were contacted/recruited for the study were defined as “aware” and respondents having some understanding of the eye disease were defined as “knowledgeable”.
Overall 13.5% were aware of glaucoma, the age-gender adjusted rate for awareness was 13.3% (95% CI: 11.57 to 15.03). Two clinicians graded knowledge on glaucoma, based on the subject's knowledge of risk factors, definitions and treatment aspects of glaucoma. Overall 8.7% had some knowledge about glaucoma. Among those who had knowledge 0.5% had good knowledge about glaucoma, 4% had fair knowledge and 4.2% had poor knowledge. We observed a very good agreement between the clinicians in grading knowledge (k =0.92). Determinants of glaucoma awareness and knowledge were higher levels of education, females, age, religion and family history of glaucoma.
Awareness and knowledge about glaucoma was very low among the urban population of Chennai. We have found that younger subjects and men were less aware of glaucoma. Subjects with lower levels of education were less aware and knew less about glaucoma than their counterparts. The study findings stress the need for health education for effective prevention of blindness due to glaucoma.
PMCID: PMC2804123  PMID: 19700873
Awareness; glaucoma; knowledge; India; population-based study
20.  Cancer awareness and socio-economic position: results from a population-based study in Denmark 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):581.
Differences in cancer awareness between individuals may explain variations in healthcare seeking behaviour and ultimately also variations in cancer survival. It is therefore important to examine cancer awareness and to investigate possible differences in cancer awareness among specific population subgroups. The aim of this study is to assess awareness of cancer symptoms, risk factors and perceived 5-year survival from bowel, breast, ovarian, and lung cancer in a Danish population sample and to analyse the association between these factors and socio-economic position indicators.
A population-based telephone survey was carried out among 1,000 respondents aged 30–49 years and 2,000 respondents aged 50 years and older using the Awareness and Beliefs about Cancer measure. Information on socio-economic position was obtained by data linkage through Statistics Denmark. Prevalence ratios were used to determine the association between socio-economic position and cancer awareness.
A strong socio-economic gradient in cancer awareness was found. People with a low educational level and a low household income were more likely to have a lower awareness of cancer symptoms, cancer risk factors and the growing risk of cancer with age. Furthermore, men and people outside the labour force tended to be less aware of these factors than women and people within the labour force. However, women were more likely than men to lack awareness of the relationship between age and cancer risk. No clear associations were found between socio-economic position and lack of awareness of 5-year survival from bowel, breast, ovarian, and lung cancers.
As cancer awareness has shown to be positively associated with cancer-related behaviour, e.g. healthcare seeking, consideration must be given to tackle inequalities in cancer awareness and to address this issue in future public health strategies, which should be targeted at and tailored to the intended recipient groups.
PMCID: PMC4138385  PMID: 25108301
Denmark; Cancer; Awareness; Socio-economic position; Inequality
21.  Ethnic Disparities in Stroke Recognition in Individuals with Prior Stroke 
Public Health Reports  2008;123(4):514-522.
Studies of stroke awareness suggest that knowledge of early warning signs of stroke is low in high-risk groups. However, little is known about stroke knowledge among individuals with a history of prior stroke who are at significant risk for recurrent stroke.
Data from 2,970 adults with a history of prior stroke from the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System were examined. Recognition of the five warning signs of stroke and appropriate action to call 911 was compared across three racial/ethnic groups: non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic/other. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to: (1) determine the association between race/ethnicity and recognition of multiple stroke signs and appropriate first action and (2) identify independent correlates of recognition of multiple stroke signs and taking appropriate action to seek treatment among individuals with prior stroke.
Recognition of all five signs of stroke and taking appropriate action to call 911 was lowest among the non-Hispanic black group (22.3%) and Hispanic/other group (16.7%). In multivariate models, Hispanic/other (odds ratio [OR] 0.42 [0.25, 0.71]), age 50–64 (OR 0.64 [0.43, 0.97]), age ≥65 (OR 0.36 [0.23, 0.55]), and >high school education (OR 1.79 [1.22, 2.63]) emerged as independent correlates of recognition of all five signs of stroke and first action to call 911.
Less than 35% of people with prior stroke can distinguish the complex symptom profile of a stroke and take appropriate action to call 911. Targeted educational activities that are sensitive to differences in race/ethnicity, age, and education levels are needed for individuals with prior stroke.
PMCID: PMC2430648  PMID: 18763414
22.  Stroke Statistics in Korea: Part II Stroke Awareness and Acute Stroke Care, A Report from the Korean Stroke Society and Clinical Research Center For Stroke 
Journal of Stroke  2013;15(2):67-77.
The aim of the current Part II of Stroke Statistics in Korea is to summarize nationally representative data on public awareness, pre-hospital delay, thrombolysis, and quality of acute stroke care in a single document. The public's knowledge of stroke definition, risk factors, warning signs, and act on stroke generally remains low. According to studies using open-ended questions, the correct definition of stroke was recognized in less than 50%, hypertension as a stroke risk factor in less than 50%, and other well-defined risk factors in less than 20%. Among stroke warning signs, sudden paresis or numbness was best appreciated, with recognition rates ranging in 36.9-73.7%, but other warning signs including speech disturbance were underappreciated. In addition, less than one third of subjects in a representative population survey were aware of thrombolysis and had knowledge of the appropriate act on stroke, calling emergency medical services (EMS). Despite EMS being an essential element in the stroke chain of survival and outcome improvement, EMS protocols for field stroke diagnosis and prehospital notification for potential stroke patients are not well established. According to the Assessment for Quality of Acute Stroke Care, the median onset-to-door time for patients arriving at the emergency room was 4 hours (mean, 17.3 hours) in 2010, which was not reduced compared to 2005. In contrast, the median door-to-needle time for intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV-TPA) treatment was 55.5 minutes (mean, 79.5 minutes) in 2010, shorter than the median time of 60.0 minutes (mean, 102.8 minutes) in 2008. Of patients with acute ischemic stroke, 7.9% were treated with IV-TPA in 2010, an increase from the 4.6% in 2005. Particularly, IV-TPA use for eligible patients substantially increased, from 21.7% in 2005 to 74.0% in 2010. The proportion of hospitals equipped with a stroke unit has increased from 1.1% in 2005 to 19.4% in 2010. Performance, as measured by quality indicators, has steadily improved since 2005, and the performance rates for most indicators were greater than 90% in 2010 except for early rehabilitation consideration (89.4%) and IV-TPA use for eligible patients (74.0%). In summary, the current report indicates a substantial improvement in in-hospital acute stroke care, but also emphasizes the need for enhancing public awareness and integrating the prehospital EMS system into acute stroke management. This report would be a valuable resource for understanding the current status and implementing initiatives to further improve public awareness of stroke and acute stroke care in Korea.
PMCID: PMC3779666  PMID: 24324942
Stroke; Statistics; Public awareness; Acute stroke; Care
23.  Talking about cancer with confidence: evaluation of cancer awareness training for community-based health workers 
Perspectives in Public Health  2014;134(5):268-275.
To examine the impact of cancer awareness training for community-based health workers on confidence to talk about cancer, and knowledge of cancer risk factors and signs and symptoms.
Community-based health workers from Sandwell, Birmingham and Solihull were invited to take part in one of 14 one-day training workshops. Trainees completed questionnaires at the beginning of the workshop and were followed up one month later. Confidence in talking about cancer was examined. Knowledge of cancer risk factors and signs and symptoms was assessed. Trainees were asked to rate the usefulness of the workshop, whether they would recommend it to others and whether they had put what they had learnt into practice.
A total of 187 community-based health workers took part in the workshops, and 167 (89%) completed the one-month follow-up. Considerable improvements were observed in confidence to discuss cancer. For example, the proportion of participants reporting feeling ‘very confident’/‘fairly confident’ in discussing signs and symptoms of cancer increased from 32% to 96% (p < .001). Substantial improvements in trainees’ knowledge were also observed, with 79% of participants correctly identifying 10 out of 11 known risk factors for cancer at one month compared with 21% before training (p < .001). Average (unprompted) recall of cancer signs and symptoms also increased from 2.3 (±1.6) to 2.7 (±1.5), (p = .02). Most trainees (83%) rated the workshop as ‘very useful’, and 89% said they would ‘definitely’ recommend the workshop.
The cancer awareness training was reviewed positively by community-based health workers and led to improvements in confidence to talk about cancer, and knowledge of risk factors and warning signs of cancer. It is hoped that raising awareness among this group will help them to communicate and drive behaviour change in the at-risk populations with whom they work.
PMCID: PMC4232344  PMID: 25169613
cancer awareness; training; evaluation; community; health; community health worker
24.  The relation between athletic sports and prevalence of amenorrhea and oligomenorrhea in Iranian female athletes 
In 1992, the concept of female athlete triad was introduced to describe the interrelated problems of amenorrhea, eating disorders and osteoporosis seen in female athletes. To gain a clearer picture of amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea in Iran, one of the main components of the female athlete triad, we therefore established this study on the prevalence of amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea in elite Iranian female athletes, also evaluating the risk factors of these disorders in the same population.
This study performed as a cross-sectional study. All elite Iranian female athletes of 34 sports federation, including female athletes in national teams and medalists of Tehran were invited to participate. A total of 788 (95% response rate) returned the questionnaires and were examined. Younger athletes under the age of menarche were excluded. Each athlete completed a self-administered questionnaire, which covered the following questions about participant's demographic information, athletic history, history of injuries and menstrual pattern. In order to diagnose the causes of amenorrhea/Oligomenorrhea including polycystic ovary syndrome(PCOS), participants with amenorrhea/Oligomenorrhea underwent further investigation. They were evaluated by following Para clinic investigation, and an ultrasonographic study of ovary.
The age ranged from 13–37 (mean = 21.1, SD = 4.5). Seventy one (9.0%) individuals had amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea, among those, 11 (15.5%) had PCOS.
There was also a positive association between amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea and the following: age under 20 OR; 2.67, 95%CI(1.47 – 4.85), weight class sports OR; 2.09, 95%CI(1.15 – 3.82), endurance sports OR; 2.89, 95%CI(1.22 – 6.84), late onset of menarche OR; 3.32 95%CI(1.04–10.51), and use of oral contraceptive pills OR; 6.17, 95%CI(3.00 – 12.69). Intensity of training sport or BMI were not risk factors.
These findings support the previous findings in the literature that the prevalence of amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea is high in athletes. Furthermore, we provided the first report on the prevalence of PCOS in female athletes with amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea. Athletes would be greatly benefited by greater general awareness about the complications of amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea.
To increase awareness of exercise-associated menstrual cycle irregularities, it is necessary to design complete and comprehensive education programs for female athletes, their parents, their coaches, and the relevant authorities.
PMCID: PMC2732598  PMID: 19642982
25.  Cancer symptom awareness and barriers to medical help seeking in Scottish adolescents: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):1117.
Initiatives to promote early diagnosis include raising public awareness of signs and symptoms of cancer and addressing barriers to seeking medical help about cancer. Awareness of signs and symptoms of cancer and emotional barriers, such as, fear, worry, and embarrassment strongly influence help seeking behaviour. Whether anxiety influences seeking medical help about cancer is not known. The purpose of this study about adolescents was to examine: 1) the relationship between contextual factors and awareness of signs and symptoms of cancer and barriers (including emotional barriers) to seeking medical help, and 2) associations between anxiety and endorsed barriers to seeking medical help. Interpretation of data is informed by the common sense model of the self-regulation of health and illness.
A cross-sectional study of 2,173 Scottish adolescents (age 12/13 years) using the Cancer Awareness Measure. Socio-demographic questions were also included. Descriptive statistics were calculated and two Poisson regression models were built to determine independent predictors of: 1) the number of cancer warning signs recognized, and; 2) number of barriers to help seeking endorsed.
Analysis identified that knowing someone with cancer was a significant independent predictor of recognising more cancer warning signs whereas Black and Minority Ethnic status was a significant independent predictor of recognising fewer cancer warning signs. Emotional barriers were the most commonly endorsed, followed by family, service and practical barriers. Over two thirds of adolescents were ‘worried about what the doctor would find’ and over half were ‘scared’. Higher anxiety scores, knowing more cancer warning signs and female gender were significant independent predictors of barriers to help seeking.
Improving cancer awareness and help seeking behaviour during adolescence may contribute to early presentation. Contextual factors (for example, ethnicity, gender, knowing someone with cancer), and emotional dimensions (for example, anxiety, fear, worry) are critical components in help seeking behaviours. The role of emotional factors indicates that public health campaigns focused on awareness and help seeking may benefit from having a more emotional focus, for example, including references to feelings, such as, fears and worries.
PMCID: PMC4230513  PMID: 25355287
Public cancer awareness; Early diagnosis; Help seeking behaviour; Adolescents

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