Perception of Cancer Risk and Its Associated Risk Factors among Young Iraqis living in Baghdad

Document Type : Research Articles


Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Jalan Yaacob Latif, Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Cancer is responsible for substantial burden on communities and more specifically on less developed countries. The
incidence of cancer is on the rise due to population growth and aging, also due to increment of the risk factors such
as smoking, increasing weight, low physical activity associated with adoption of western lifestyle. Around 14 million
cases of new cancer and 8 million deaths from cancer is estimated to occur by 2012. This cross-sectional study was
conducted in Baghdad from June 2016 to October 2016. Participants were selected according to our inclusion criteria,
namely aged between 18 to 40 years and not being diagnosed with any chronic diseases. Those who fulfilled the
inclusion criteria were 700 participants who completed the questionnaire. Results showed that most of our participants
had low perceived susceptibility to cancer risk (62.4%), low perceived severity (59.8%), but good perceived benefits
of screening (56.6%). Hierarchal linear regression analysis showed that sociodemographic factors of gender, marital
status, and education level were statistically significant. Moreover, factors of health behaviour such as practice towards
health and preventive behaviour were associated with the outcome. Finally, treatment control and emotional factors were
mostly predicting the outcome. Perceived susceptibility to cancer along with its psychological factors and behaviour
were important contributors to self-perceived health in this study. Hence there is association between perception and
future morbidity and mortality, thus it is crucial for public health policy. Comprehensive health programs that include
health promotion campaigns and proper health care services that deals with secondary prevention.


Main Subjects