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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 174

Screening for red flag symptoms of cancer: A community-based cross-sectional study from urban Puducherry, India


Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. R Jayalakshmy
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_89_18

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BACKGROUND: Patients with cancer often delay seeking medical advice in developing countries. In India, only 20%–30% of cancers are being diagnosed in Stages I and II. Screening for red flag symptoms of cancer can be used to identify high-risk individuals in the community. METHODOLOGY: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in February 2017 among 302 participants in one of the service areas of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research urban health center selected by universal sampling. Data on the presence of red flag symptoms of cancer (persistent cough, persistent change in bowel/bladder habits, nonhealing ulcer, persistent difficulty in swallowing, unexplained weight loss, unexplained lump, persistent unexplained pain, unexplained bleeding, and change in the appearance of mole) and presence of risk factors were collected through interviews. The collected data were entered using EpiData version 3.0. RESULTS: The mean (standard deviation) age of the study participants was 44 (11) years and 50.6% of them were male. At least one red flag symptom of cancer was present in 22 (7.3%) individuals; 9 (2.8%) had unexplained pain, 4 (1.3%) had change in bowel habits, 4 (1.3%) had change in bladder habits, 3 (1%) had cough, 3 (1%) had nonhealing ulcer, 2 (0.6%) had unexplained bleeding, 1 (0.3%) had difficulty in swallowing, 1 (0.3%) had weight loss, 1 (0.3%) had lump, and 1 (0.3%) had change in the appearance of mole. CONCLUSION: Screening for red flag symptoms of cancer is an easy tool that can be used in the community to identify high-risk individuals, which will facilitate early diagnosis of cancer.


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