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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 11  |  Page : 526-531

Awareness and knowledge of ocular cancers in a resource-limited economy


1 Department of Ophthalmology, College of Health Sciences, University of Abuja, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of Abuja, Nigeria
3 Department of Pathology, College of Health Sciences, University of Abuja, Nigeria
4 Department of Ophthalmology, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Abdulkabir A Ayanniyi
Department of Ophthalmology, College of Health Sciences, University of Abuja, P.M.B 117, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Aims: To determine awareness and knowledge of ocular cancers in a resource-limited setting. Material and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey (2009) of 1,887 Nigerians using interviewer-administered questionnaire. Results: Respondents were 55.6% males, and mean age was 30 years, SD 9.5. Most respondents (77.8%) had at least secondary education. Fewer respondents were aware of eye cancers (57.1%) compared to cancers in general (73.7%) (P<.001). Despite the male preponderance there were no associations between gender and awareness of ocular cancers (P=0.07) and cancers in general (P=0.85). However, education was associated with awareness of ocular cancers (P<.001) and cancers in general (P<.001). Ocular cancers were thought to be caused by corrosives 33.2%, trauma 21.4%, witchcraft 18.6%, genetic transmission 15.7%, sunlight 8.0%, radiations 2.5% and infections 0.6% (n = 883). Of 280 respondents, 41.1% based their knowledge of patients having ocular cancers on sources other than hospital diagnosis. Of 148 respondents, 16.2% were related to 'patients' they knew had ocular cancers. There were 202 respondents who indicated challenges to accessing orthodox medical eye care services by ocular cancer patients as high cost 55.5%, long waiting period 23.3%, long distance 15.4% and poor attitude of health workers 5.9%. Conclusion: Awareness of ocular cancers compared to other cancers is low. Misconceptions on the causes of ocular cancers exist. Public ocular cancers health education can enhance awareness. The need to address barriers to accessing eye care is underscored.


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