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Information Seeking Behavior About Cancer and Associated Factors Among University Students, Ethiopia: A Cross-Sectional Study

Authors Gedefaw A, Yilma TM, Endehabtu BF

Received 2 May 2020

Accepted for publication 12 June 2020

Published 22 June 2020 Volume 2020:12 Pages 4829—4839


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Ahmet Emre Eskazan

Adugna Gedefaw,1 Tesfahun Melese Yilma,2 Berhanu Fikadie Endehabtu2

1Department of Health Informatics, Debre Tabor Health Science College, Gondar, Ethiopia; 2Department of Health Informatics, Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

Correspondence: Berhanu Fikadie Endehabtu
Department of Health Informatics, Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
Tel +251 921013129

Introduction: Cancer is among the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa over the last few years, putting a tremendous physical, emotional, and financial strain on individuals, families, and health systems. Many health systems in sub-Saharan Africa are least prepared to manage this burden, and a large number of individuals do not have access to quality cancer-related information to prevent and manage cancer. Understanding the information seeking behavior of individuals, especially university students who are more likely to seek health information than other people, can be seen as an opportunity to provide resources to improve lifestyle or prevent possible health-threatening behaviors of individuals.
Objective: This study aimed to assess cancer information seeking behavior (CISB) and its associated factors among students in Debre Tabor University, Ethiopia.
Methods: An institution-based cross-sectional study design was conducted among students at Debre Tabor University from March 01 to March 30, 2019. A total of 844 students were selected using a multistage stratified sampling technique. Data were collected using a structured and pre-tested questionnaire by trained data collectors. Data entry and analyses were performed using Epi info version 7.2 and SPSS version 20, respectively. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to explore the socio-demographic information and cancer information seeking behavior. Binary logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with cancer information seeking.
Results: The proportion of cancer information seeking by students in the past 12 months was 30.1%. Their preferred source of information about cancer was health-care providers (48%) followed by the Internet (27.6%). Year of study, Internet access (AOR=6.07, 95% CI= 4.05, 9.10), health literacy level (AOR=1.8, 95% CI=1.21, 2.68), self-reported health condition (AOR=1.85, 95% CI=1.25, 2.73), perceived susceptibility to cancer (AOR=2.48, 95% CI=1.47, 4.2), and perceived severity of cancer (AOR=3.33, 95% CI=1.85, 6.0) were the factors associated with cancer information seeking.
Conclusion: The proportion of cancer information seeking among university students was low. Being 3rd- and 4th-year student, internet access, being healthy, adequate health literacy level, concerning about cancer, and higher perceived severity of cancer were significantly associated with cancer information seeking. Increase health literacy and awareness creation about cancer for students will help to seek cancer information.

Keywords: cancer, information seeking behavior, university student, Ethiopia

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