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Alamin, Almutairi, Allam, Alsolami, and Atta: Assessment of the knowledge and awareness of colorectal cancer among undergraduate students in King Abdulaziz University – a survey-based study

Introduction: According to the Saudi Cancer Registry, colorectal cancer ranked first among the male population and third among the female population.

Objectives: To investigate the level of knowledge and awareness of colorectal cancer among students from different faculties at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted during February 2014. The questionnaire was adapted from surveys identified in relevant literature. The data were entered and analysed by IBM SPSS Statistics version 21 (IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY, USA).

Results: A total of 523 undergraduate students answered the questionnaire (mean age of 21.49 ± 2.47 years). The majority of the students (82.3%) had heard of colorectal cancer. Less than half (40%) of the students received information material regarding colorectal cancer within the school curriculum. More than half of the students (68.2%) recognized that colorectal cancer is a preventable disease. Only 33.6% were aware of screening tests, while 77.0% did not know any type of test that could help detect colorectal cancer. Approximately half of the students (52.0%) recognized that family history is one of the risk factors for colorectal cancer, while 59.4% knew that age was considered one of the non-modifiable risk factors.

Conclusions: The findings of this study revealed that knowledge and awareness of colorectal cancer in a sample of undergraduate students from King Abdulaziz University were variable between different faculties, but, overall, were low. It warrants an extensive health education campaign on colorectal cancer as it is one of the most common cancers in Saudi Arabia.

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