Influence of patient's perceptions, beliefs and knowledge about cancer on treatment decision making in Pakistan
Internal Medicine (East Africa)
Introduction: Cancer is a cause of major disease burden across the world and Pakistani data suggest that itsincidence is increasing. Pakistan’s socio-cultural history, social practices, religious beliefs and family systemsdiffer in many ways from rest of the world. These factors make the practice of oncology a challenge. Materialsand
Methods: A comprehensive questionnaire focusing on socio-cultural and religious aspects was administeredto patients with a diagnosis of cancer and receiving chemotherapy at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi,Pakistan.
Results: A total of 230 patients agreed to answer the questionnaire, with a mean age of 46 years and63% were females. Obtaining some formal education was claimed by 87%, 75.2% had received some treatmentbefore seeing an oncologist, including homeopathic physicians and faith healers. Of all 27 % thought that canceris contagious, a fact observed more so in those who were illiterate, 27 % believed in some myth such as past sins,evil eye or God’s curse as to be cause of their cancer, while 39.6% thought that cancer can be prevented by aregular religious activity. Some 30% thought that a meaningful life after diagnosis of cancer was not possibleand 28%considered that they did not have proper information about chemotherapy. About 73% wanted to havetheir treatment related decision made by the treating physician.
Conclusions: Patient related beliefs in mythsand concerns are unique in the socio-cultural set up of Pakistan. If physicians are better aware of these factors,they may be able to handle patient related issues in a more effective way.
Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention
(2010). Influence of patient's perceptions, beliefs and knowledge about cancer on treatment decision making in Pakistan. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 11(1), 251-255.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/eastafrica_fhs_mc_intern_med/100