This study aimed to investigate Chinese medical interns’ cancer knowledge and associated factors, focusing on cancer screening.
Methods: A questionnaire survey was conducted in ten leading Chinese medical schools from June to July in 2011. Medical interns were invited to fill the questionnaire.
Results: Out of the 1350 copies sent, 1135 eligible responses were returned. Around 50% of interns had positive attitude toward oncology, but the knowledge score was low, particularly in screening. The percentages of scores were 44.8% (8.95/20) for overall and only 29.6% (2.07/7) for screening. The majority of internship length in oncology department was eight to fourteen days. Screening and prevention was ranked as third most taught, following diagnosis and treatment. Multivariate analysis showed that positive attitude to oncology correlated with positive self-evaluated overall (OR = 1.76, 95% CI (1.45, 2.12)] and screening [OR = 1.62, 95% CI (1.35, 1.95)] competence, but unexpectedly predicted lower screening score [OR = 0.77, 95% CI (0.61, 0.97)]. Interns with positive self-evaluated screening competence were not found to possess higher cancer screening knowledge.
Conclusion: Current medical education in Chinese medical schools fails to equip interns with optimal cancer knowledge, particularly in screening, even in interns who hold positive view to oncology. Interns’ self-evaluated competence is not proportional to their knowledge scores.