Awareness and Assessment of Risk Factors for Lung Cancer in Residents of Pokhara Valley


Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the awareness and assessment of lung cancer risk factorswith respect to sociodemographic factors among residents of Pokhara Valley, Nepal. Materials and
Methods: Across sectional study was carried out in 240 residents between 01 September 2009 and 31 March 2010 using astructured questionnaire containing details of lung cancer risk factors viz., smoking, environmental pollution,insecticide exposure, hereditary factors, protective diet and socio demographic details. Descriptive statisticsand testing of hypothesis were used for the analysis using EPI INFO and SPSS 16 software.
Results: In the240 subjects, the mean age was 33.4 ± SD 11.4 years, with a slight male preponderance in gender distribution(57.5% males vs. 42.5% females). 32.5% out of the study population were smokers (43.5% of males and17.6% of females). Relationships could be established between gender and smoking (p=0.001, odds ratio=3.58),stoppage or restriction of tobacco use (p=0.001), smoking by mother during subjects’ childhood as a motivationto develop smoking habit (p= 0.001), tobacco use as a cause of cancer (p=0.001), cancer as the most dreadeddisease (p=0.009). Positive relationships were found between educational level and risk factors viz. smoking bymother during subjects’ childhood (p= 0.03), wood or coal exposure causing lung cancer (p=0.0001), protectionfrom lung cancer by consumption of green and yellow vegetables (p=0.0001) and insecticide exposure as a causeof lung cancer (p=0.0001). No strong relationship could be established between gender and outdoor pollution(p=0.721), insecticide exposure (p=0.219), protective diet (p=0.979) and hereditary factors (p=0.273).
Conclusion:Awareness of lung cancer by tobacco use and other risk factors varied with socioeconomic status amongst residentsof Pokhara. Despite their awareness of smoking as a risk factor for lung cancer, most of them still continue tosmoke. Government and NGOs should gear up a population based counselling programme in this community.