Barriers to healthcare seeking, beliefs about ovarian cancer and the role of socio-economic position. A cross-sectional multilevel study in Dubai, a multicultural society
Background: Studies have shown that public awareness of ovarian cancer is weak, and women are often diagnosed at late stages when treatment is difficult.
Design and Methods: To determine the barriers for seeking early medical care and level of knowledge and awareness among women regarding ovarian cancer. A structured questionnaire was designed and adapted from the validated cancer awareness measure.
Results: The recognition level of ovarian cancer symptoms among women in this study varied from 12-51%, and the most alarming ones, back pain, eating difficulties, and persistent abdominal pain, were missed by most of the surveyed women. The most recognized ovarian cancer risk factors were never being pregnant, having a history of infertility, and going through menopause, while the least recognized was having personal or family history of breast cancer. Non-UAE nationals’ women with higher educational levels had better knowledge of ovarian cancer compared to their peers.
Conclusions: A change or implementation model is highly recommended in order to improve women's awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms. Strengthening education among women with regards to risk factors, early symptoms, and the need to seek early medical help should help to increase ovarian cancer awareness and reduce a delay in the diagnosis.
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