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Evaluation of a cancer awareness campaign: experience with a selected population in Karachi

Evaluation of a cancer awareness campaign: experience with a selected population in Karachi

Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention 7(3): 391-395

The incidence and prevalence of cancer is rapidly increasing in both developed and developing countries. The most common cancers reported in Pakistan are breast and cervical cancers in females, and lung and oral cancers in males. Public awareness of cancer can play a vital role in its prevention, early diagnosis and treatment. A pilot survey conducted by the Cancer Support Group (CSG) of Aga Khan University Hospital from 2001 till 2004 to gauge the public awareness of cancer in Pakistan revealed that people were afraid of cancer and had little knowledge about its prevention and early detection. The survey also identified several social, religious and cultural misconceptions which hinder cancer screening and treatment. In order to create awareness amongst the general public, especially the young generation, members of the CSG also organized fifteen health education sessions in schools, colleges, hospitals and communities in Karachi which were attended by more than 1,500 people. With the help of the results generated in the pilot project, education material was designed and developed for these health education sessions. Ten percent of the participants contacted CSG members for some unusual finding after administering a self screening tests taught in these sessions. This indicates the importance of holding cancer awareness sessions and the positive feedback obtained suggests that people would like to have cancer awareness sessions continued.

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