Attitudes toward cancer and cancer patients in an Urban Iranian population

Shervin Badihian, Eun Kyung Choi, Im Ryung Kim, Aidin Parnia, Navid Manouchehri, Negin Badihian, Jila M. Tanha, Eliseo Guallar, Juhee Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)944-950
Number of pages7
JournalOncologist
Volume22
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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