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

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  • Sallam Saki
    Department of Public Health, Dubai Medical College, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Noor Radhi Ali
    Department of Public Health, Dubai Medical College, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Safa Sofi Saki
    Department of Public Health, Dubai Medical College, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Zainab Sadeq AlRabeea
    Department of Public Health, Dubai Medical College, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Fatima Najim AlRemeithi
    Department of Public Health, Dubai Medical College, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Frederick Robert Carrick
    University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando, FL, United States.
  • Mahera Abdulrahman
    Health Regulation Sector, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Background: Studies have shown that public awareness of ovarian cancer is weak, and women are often diagnosed at late stages when treatment is difficult. This study aimed to determine the barriers for seeking early medical care and level of knowledge and awareness among women regarding ovarian cancer.

Design and methods:
 A structured questionnaire was designed and adapted from the validated cancer awareness measure.

: 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.

 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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