Assessing the knowledge of risk factors for most common cancers in Uganda and the practices for cancer risk reduction among residents of Kawempe Division
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Background: The number of cases of cancer in Uganda is rising on a yearly basis. Studies carried out in Uganda and in other third world countries reveal low knowledge on some known risk factors for cancer and no studies have been carried out to identify cancer risk reduction practices in Uganda. Poor knowledge on risk factors for cancer and the poor observance of risk reduction practices might be at the center of the rising cancer burden in Uganda. Aim: The study aimed at assessing knowledge of risk factors for most common cancers in Uganda and the practices for cancer risk reduction among residents of Kawempe Division. Methods: We conducted a quantitative cross sectional survey with 358 residents of Kawempe Division. Data was obtained through use of a standardized structured interviewer administered questionnaire. The collected data was entered into Epi-data version 3.1 and a quantitative analysis was done using SPSS version 20. Results: Our study revealed good knowledge on cigarette smoking (88.0%), Exposure to cigarette smoke (79.8%), Daily excessive alcohol consumption (68.5%), HIV/AIDS (55.9%), multiple sexual partners (62.1%), Inflammation of the prostate (62.4%), chronic diet deficient in fruits and vegetables (59.5%), Chemical (81.5%), and radiation (62.7%) as risk factors for cancer (high percentages). Poor knowledge was seen with HBV, Inadequate physical activity, HPV, HTLV-1, HHV-8, giving birth to first child after 30 years. Age (p=0.005), gender (p=0.000), education level (p=0.014) and religious affiliation (p=0.006) were found to be significantly associated with knowledge of risk factors for cancer unlike occupation (p=0.261) and marital status (p=0.244). One sexual partner (70.3%), nonsmoking life (86%), avoiding cigarette smoke (73.9%), avoiding alcohol (74.8%), taking balanced diet (81%), meals supplementation with fruits and vegetables (62.4%), regular infant breast feeding (93.8%), use of protective gears (66.1%) were the most implemented risk reduction practices. Vaccination against HPV (2%), HBV (28.5%) and adequate physical exercise (29.7%) were the least implemented risk reduction practices. Conclusion: There was good knowledge on smoking, exposure to certain chemicals and drugs, daily excessive alcohol consumption, and low knowledge on HBV infection and Physical inactivity (the most poorly observed risk reduction practices), giving birth to first child before 30 years as risk factors for cancer. Age, education level and religious affiliation significantly affected the knowledge levels.