Document Type



Family Medicine


OBJECTIVE: To determine awareness of cancer risk factors in the patients and attendants of Out-patient Clinics at a University Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on 315 respondents reporting to a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan, to assess their level of awareness regarding risk factors of cancer.

RESULTS: The respondents belonged to an urban population with the mean time spent in Karachi of 29.1 years (SD +/- 13.94). There were 213 (67%) males and 102 (33%) females. All respondents had heard of the word 'cancer', while only 57.5% were aware of cancer risk factors. However, only 42.8% could identify age, 33% diet, 35% drugs and 31% obesity as risk factors for cancer. Even those who were aware of the risk factors were not able to appreciate personal risk of cancer.

CONCLUSION: Despite awareness regarding some of the risk factors, the surveyed population was not aware of intrinsic risk factors for cancers like increasing age and obesity. It is important to create awareness through educational programs on cancer prevention, dissemination of knowledge pertaining to the preventable and avoidable cancer risk factors, the benefits of early diagnosis, and availability of screening tests.


Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association