Document Type: Original Article

Authors

Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Abstract

Background: There is an increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in Malaysia. The aim of this study is to evaluate sociodemographic data, knowledge, awareness, practice level, and quality of life in colorectal cancer patients.Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from December 2011 to June 2012 that involved 105 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer at four chosen tertiary government hospitals. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer questionnaire was used to measure quality of life and consisted of global health status, five functional scales, six single items and three symptoms scores. A novel knowledge, awareness and practice questionnaire toward colorectal cancer contained three sections of 36 closed-ended questions on knowledge, and ten questions on awareness and practice.Results: The mean age of the respondents was 58.30±12.64 years. Most respondents were diagnosed with Dukes’ D (46.7%) stage. Patients’ age showed significant association (Spearman Correlation test) with emotional (P=0.048) and social functioning (P=0.036). Indians showed significant association with global health status (P=0.007), emotional functioning (P=0.039) and pain (P=0.009). There was a significant association between females with nausea and vomiting (P=0.015) and lower household income with diarrhea (P=0.042). Cancer stage showed the most significant association with patients’ quality of life with cognitive functioning (P=0.030), social functioning (P=0.006), pain (P=0.044) and financial impact (P=0.047). Although the mean scores for knowledge (24.53±2.36), awareness (29.72±2.09) and practice (24.05±3.65)were high, they were not associated with quality of life.Conclusion: Our research showed that patients with advanced age and disease have lower quality of life. Raising awareness by educating the public and implementing a nationwide screening program would allow early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer, thus avoiding deterioration of quality of life.