Awareness of Ovarian Cancer and Its Symptoms and Risk Factors Among Women of Reproductive Age at a Tertiary Care Hospital in Goa, India
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Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer in world among women and a leading cause of mortality among all gynaecological malignancies. This is because majority of the ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed at advanced stage of the disease. The lack of specific symptoms and effective screening techniques makes ovarian cancer an extremely fatal disease. The present study was undertaken to assess the awareness of ovarian cancer; its symptoms, risk factors, treatment and prognosis among women of reproductive-age group admitted in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology (OBG) wards of Goa Medical College.
A hospital-based cross-sectional study was conducted in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Goa Medical College, from December 2018 to February 2019. A total of 426 women above 20 years of age admitted in all the obstetrics and gynaecology wards were interviewed and assessed using a structured questionnaire. A score of more than 70% was considered as good level of awareness, 50–69% indicating fair level of awareness and a score of less than 50% indicating poor level of awareness of ovarian cancer.
About one-third of the women had ever heard of ovarian cancer; however, only 3.5% women had good level of awareness, 13.4% had fair level of awareness, and 83.1% women had poor level of awareness of ovarian cancer. Most of the respondents (84.5%) were aged < 40 years, married (90.1%), Hindu (76%), had at least secondary education (81.6%)and socio-economic class III and above (78.9%), and were from rural areas (59.2%). Most of the women interviewed (63.4%) had no knowledge about ovaries and their function. Only 14.1% of the women knew about symptoms of ovarian cancer, and hardly 2.8% were aware of its risk factors. The most commonly known symptom of ovarian cancer among these women was abdominal pain (71.8%), while the most commonly known risk factor reported was family history of ovarian cancer (67.6%). A large percentage (43.7%) of women had poor awareness of screening, treatment and prognosis of ovarian cancer.
There is poor awareness of ovarian cancer and its symptoms and risk factors among women in Goa and a high mortality associated with the disease. Health education about the disease among women is the need of the hour in order to facilitate screening, detection and treatment for ovarian cancer.
KeywordsOvarian cancer Awareness Knowledge Risk factors Treatment
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.
Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.
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