Knowledge, attitude and practices of non-oncologist physicians regarding cancer and palliative care: a multi-center study from Pakistan.

ASIM JAMAL SHAIKH DR, Aga Khan University
Nisar Ahmed Khokhar, Aga Khan University
Sajjad Raza, Aga Khan University
Shiyam Kumar, Aga Khan University
Ghulam H, Aga Khan University
Aneeta Ghulam Haider, Aga Khan University
Rabia Muhammad, Aga Khan University
Nehal Masood, Aga Khan University




Cancer is a major cause of disease burden in Pakistan, so that knowledge of physicians about all aspects should be adequate, especially for palliative care for end stage management, given the generally late stage presentation.


A cross-sectional study was conducted in three tertiary care hospitals and areas of general practice in Pakistan.


A total of 236 non-oncologist physicians were assessed. Most of them claimed to have cared for cancer patients in someway and considered that cancer treatment is often long and protracted. However, one-third were unaware of the fact that cancer is a major disease burden in our society. About half of them thought that chemotherapy makes patients miserable. Oncology as a practice was considered financially of low reward by about a quarter. Most physicians, including consultants, were unaware of the term hospice. Many did not know where to refer cases of cancer and about the commonest cancers in Pakistani males.


Awareness about cancer and palliative care among primary physicians needs to be improved for cancer prevention and control.