A study on community perceptions of common cancers, determinants of community behaviour and program implementation in New Delhi, India.
Assessment of perceptions of the community, the determinants and development of their behavior regarding common malignancies, helps in establishing evidence-based activities for prevention and early diagnosis of cancer. However information on this important aspect is lacking in our country. Qualitative methods were here used to obtain information through in depth interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with all categories of identified stakeholders. Most were unaware of the activities of the cancer control program. Even the providers were not fully conversant. All respondents mentioned lack of diagnostic and treatment facilities in government, primary and secondary level facilities. Perceptions of different categories of stakeholders regarding why many community members did not attend screening camps and other services reflect the determinants of community behavior, acting independently as well as in combination. The cancer control program was thought to be restricted only to some private facilities and overcrowded government tertiary care facilities where the visits were time consuming. Almost all the facilities were considered curative oriented. Issues of supervision, monitoring and feedback were inadequately addressed by providers who were inadequately trained in many program activities. The program lacked effective planning, coordination and appropriate implementation at the grass roots level in Delhi. Social mobilization was grossly inadequate, as most of the community members were unaware of the existence of the program. Misconceptions about the risk factors, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment were common amongst community members as well as many of the providers. Thus the national cancer control program in our country needs further community participation and social mobilization. Accessibility, availability, acceptability and affordability of various preventive, curative and rehabilitative activities, as well as intersectoral coordination, training, supervision and monitoring of program activities, all need to be addressed to ensure the success of this important public health program.
Seth, T; Kotwal, A; Thakur, RK; Ganguly, KK
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