American Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2013, 1(1), 9-13DOI:
Abstract: Cancer is the second cause of premature deaths globally. In Malaysia, a total of 18,219 new cancer cases were diagnosed in 2007. Cancer is preventable and potentially avoidable disease, mainly by tackling modifiable risk factors, increasing participation in cancer screening tests and early detection of cancer through the recognition of early cancer signs. Cancer awareness was assessed using a validated and reliable self-administered questionnaire (Cronbach’s alpha coefficient > 0.77) containing 63 items which included awareness (cancer early signs and symptoms, and cancer screening tests); cancer risk factors knowledge; attitude towards cancer prevention; and barriers in seeking cancer and health information. A total of 965 students (36.0% males and 64.0% females) participated with informed consent. Majority of the students were from private universities (73.1%) while 26.9% were from public universities. Majority of the students had low awareness (94.4%) and knowledge (64.9%) scores but have high attitude scores (76.9%). Awareness, knowledge and attitude scores were significantly higher among female students and science faculty students. Only knowledge score was significantly higher among students from Chinese ethnicity. Emotional and practical barriers were determined as the main barrier in seeking medical advice among the participants. This study provides a valuable basis of information toward the formulation of relevant cancer prevention strategies, especially within the scope of health education among the undergraduate students.