Effectiveness of an Educational Program on Awareness of Cancer Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Barriers to Medical Help-Seeking Among Adolescent Omani Students: an Interventional Study

Khadija Al-Hosni, Moon Fai Chan, Mohammed Al-Azri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, with attributable mortality expected to continue increasing over time. High school students are often targeted to enhance awareness of cancer risk factors and symptoms and promote early medical help-seeking behaviors. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a cancer education program among Omani adolescents. A total of 12 public schools were randomly selected from three governorates and assigned to either the intervention or control group. Students attending grades 10 and 11 at the selected schools were targeted. The Cancer Awareness Measure tool was used to evaluate knowledge of cancer risk factors and symptoms, perceived barriers to seeking medical help, and anticipated time to consult a doctor for cancer warning symptoms at baseline (T0) and after 4 weeks (T1). After T0, the intervention group participated in a 1-h cancer education program involving a slideshow presentation and group discussion; they also received a leaflet and online access to program materials and videos. A total of 1716 students were enrolled in the study, including 886 (51.6%) assigned to the control group and 830 (48.4%) to the intervention group. Recognition of cancer risk factors (Z = 24.86; p ˂ 0.001) and cancer symptoms (Z = 24.91; p ˂ 0.001) significantly improved in the intervention group between T0 and T1, and compared to the control group at T1 (U = 33.28; p ˂ 0.001, and U = 34.55; p ˂ 0.001, respectively). In addition, anticipated time to help-seeking (Z = 20.15; p ˂ 0.001) and barriers to help-seeking (Z = 10.33; p < 0.001) decreased significantly between T0 and T1, and compared to the control group at T1 (U = 19.00; p ˂ 0.001, and U = 3.58; p < 0.001, respectively). The intervention effectively increased knowledge of cancer risk factors and symptoms and promoted early medical help-seeking behaviors among school-aged Omani adolescents. Integration of cancer education within high school curricula can aid cancer prevention and early intervention efforts. However, additional follow-up is required to confirm the long-term effectiveness of such programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1304-1312
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 7 2023


  • Barriers
  • Cancer knowledge
  • Education
  • Intervention
  • Oman
  • School students
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Neoplasms/diagnosis
  • Students
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Schools
  • Health Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this