Awareness of Risk Factors, Symptoms and Time to Seek Medical Help of Ovarian Cancer amongst Omani Women Attending Teaching Hospital in Muscat Governorate, Oman

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman.

2 College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Oman.

3 Department of Research, Oman Medical Specialty Board, Muscat, Oman.

Abstract

Background: Ovarian cancer has been regarded as most deadly gynaecological cancer in the world. In Oman,
ovarian cancer is the third most prevalent gynaecological cancer affecting Omani women. The awareness of risk factors,
symptoms and seeking early medical care play a role in the improvement of survival rates. The aim of this study is to
explore knowledge, risk factors, symptoms and the time taken to seek early medical help for ovarian cancer among
Omani women attended Sultan Qaboos University Hospital. Methods: The ovarian Cancer Awareness and Measure
(CAM) questionnaire (translated into Arabic) was used to collect data. Results: A total of 499 women participated.
The most recognised risk factors were having ovarian cysts (71.3%), smoking (67.5%) and having close relative with
ovarian cancer (63.5%); the least recognised were having in vitro fertilization (25.5%), having children (26.3%) and
using talcum powder in the genital area (31.5%). The most recognised symptoms were persistent pain in the pelvis
(67.7%), persistent pain in the abdomen (60.3%) and extreme fatigue (56.5%); the least recognised were feeling full
persistently (22.8%), passing more urine than usual (31.1%) and changes in bowel habits (32.1%). Multinomial logistic
regression showed recognition of risk factors and symptoms were associated with a higher level of education, a higher
income, increased age, higher number of pregnancies, a longer duration of marriage and having a family history of
ovarian cancer. Most of the barriers to seeking medical help were for several emotional, practical and healthcare service
reasons. Conclusion: The overall level of recognition of risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer among Omani
women were low with several emotional, practical and service barriers preventing them from seeking early medical
help. More measures to raise national cancer awareness levels are needed, and support for women to overcome these
barriers to minimized delays in the presentation.

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