Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Oncologist. 2017 Aug;22(8):944-950. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2017-0073. Epub 2017 May 30.

Attitudes Toward Cancer and Cancer Patients in an Urban Iranian Population.

Author information

1
Students' Research Center, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
2
Cancer Education Center, Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea.
3
Center of Excellence in Teaching and Learning Clinical Skills, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
4
Faculty of Medicine, Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Najafabad, Iran.
5
Department of Patient Education, The Learning Center, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.
6
Department of Clinical Research Design & Evaluation, Samsung Advanced Institute of Health Sciences and Technology SAIHST, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea.
7
Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
8
Cancer Education Center, Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea jcho@skku.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Because of the significant incidence and mortality of cancer in Iran, a Comprehensive National Cancer Control Program for the prevention and early detection of cancer was launched in 2007. However, cancer awareness and screening rates in Iran did not improve. This study aimed to evaluate public attitudes toward cancer and cancer patients in Iran.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

We conducted a cross-sectional survey among 953 non-institutionalized individuals in Isfahan, Iran, from November 2014 to February 2015. We collected data on attitudes toward cancer in three domains (impossibility of recovery, cancer stereotypes, and discrimination), as well as questions on willingness to disclose a cancer diagnosis.

RESULTS:

Among all participants, 33.9% agreed that it is very difficult to regain one's health after a cancer diagnosis, 17.4% felt uncomfortable with a cancer patient, and 26.9% said that they would avoid marrying people whose family members had cancer. While 88.9% of study participants said that cancer patients deserve to be protected in society, 53.3% and 48.4% of participants agreed that they would not disclose a cancer diagnosis to neighbors and coworkers, respectively.

CONCLUSION:

Negative attitudes with respect to impossibility of recovery and discrimination toward cancer and cancer patients were common among urban Iranians. Most people would not disclose a cancer diagnosis to others in spite of advancements in cancer diagnosis and treatment, reflecting unfavorable attitudes toward cancer and cancer patients in society. Successful implementation of cancer awareness and prevention programs in Iran may require social changes based on adequate information on cancer and cancer patients.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:

Public attitudes toward cancer and cancer patients are an important factor affecting cancer control programs as well as quality of life and recovery of cancer patients. The issue has not been studied in Iran and the surrounding countries in the Middle East. This is the first report presented on the subject. These findings can be used by health policy makers, health managers, and clinicians for better practice.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer awareness; Cancer stigma; Disparities; Public education; Social support

PMID:
28559414
PMCID:
PMC5553964
DOI:
10.1634/theoncologist.2017-0073
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center