Seeking medical help for cancer among urban dwellers in Malaysia—Emotional barriers and awareness of cancer symptoms

Tin Tin Su*, Meram Azzani, Michael Donnelly, Hazreen A. Majid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives The main aims of the study were to identify barriers to seeking help for cancer, appraise demographic and socio‐economic differences in relation to barriers and evaluate the association between barriers and cancer symptoms awareness and delayed help‐seeking. Methods A total of 2,360 adults (18 years and above) from randomly selected households in metropolitan Kuala Lumpur completed face‐to‐face interviews with trained research assistants that incorporated the validated Malay version of the Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM). Logistic regression was the main statistical technique that was used to investigate the study objectives and relationships (noted above). Results The most commonly reported barriers to help‐seeking were emotional barriers. The probability of delaying seeking help was 49% higher in participants who reported emotional barriers (OR = 1.49; CI: 1.32–1.68; p < .001); and each unit rise in the cancer symptom awareness score was associated with a reduced likelihood of 29% in help‐seeking delay (OR = 0.71; 95% CI: 0.68–0.74; p < .001). Conclusions Our study presents clear evidence of the relationship between cancer awareness and help‐seeking; and the need for, and potential positive impact of, providing cancer awareness‐raising programmes. Cancer health education campaigns or programme should address emotional barriers and encourage early seeking help.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13232
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Early online date12 Feb 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 12 Feb 2020


  • anticipated delay in help-seeking
  • barriers to seeking medical help
  • cancer awareness
  • Malaysia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Seeking medical help for cancer among urban dwellers in Malaysia—Emotional barriers and awareness of cancer symptoms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this