Cancer patients, being immunocompromised, are at higher risk of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The current study determines cancer patients' knowledge, attitude, perception, and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A cross-sectional online survey was conducted in Pakistan from 1 April 2020 to 1 May 2020. The study respondents were cancer patients with ages equal to or greater than 18 years. Following a request for participation, the URL for the survey was distributed on numerous channels. Other social media platforms, including WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Messenger, and LinkedIn, were used to increase cancer patient interaction. The questionnaire comprised five different sections such as: (1) sociodemographic information, (2) knowledge, (3) attitude, (4) perception, and (5) impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients. Descriptive medical statistics such as frequency, percentage, mean, and standard deviation were used to illustrate the demographic characteristics of the study participants. To compare mean knowledge scores with selected demographic variables, independent sample t-tests and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used, which are also practical methods in epidemiological, public health and medical research. The cut-off point for statistical significance was set at a p-value of 0.05.
More than 300 cancer patients were invited, of which 208 agreed to take part. The response rate was 69.33% (208/300). Gender, marital status, and employment status had a significant association with knowledge scores. Of the total recruited participants, 96% (n = 200) (p < 0.01) knew about COVID-19, and 90% were aware of general symptoms of COVID-19 disease, such as route of transmission and preventive measurements. In total, 94.5% (n = 197) (p < 0.01) were willing to accept isolation if they were infected with COVID-19, and 98% (n = 204) (p < 0.01) had reduced their use of public transportation. More than 90% (n = 188) (p < 0.01) of cancer patients were found to be practicing preventative measures such as using a face mask, keeping social distance, and avoiding handshaking and hugging. Around 94.4% (n = 196) (p < 0.01) of cancer patients had been impacted by, stopped or had changed cancer treatment during this pandemic, resulting in COVID-related anxiety and depression.
The included cancer patients exhibited a good level of COVID-19 knowledge, awareness, positive attitude, and perception. Large-scale studies and efforts are needed to raise COVID-19 awareness among less educated and high-risk populations. The present survey indicates that mass-level effective health education initiatives are required for developing countries to improve and reduce the gap between KAP and COVID-19.