Coinciding with the World Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in October and the Prostate Cancer Awareness Campaign in November 2018, and in support of the cancer awareness campaign in Bahrain, the Bahrain Center for Strategic, International, and Energy Studies (Derasat), conducted a survey to explore citizens’ attitudes towards early examination of breast and prostate cancer, to understand the reasons for not doing examinations and the impact of insurance cover on the citizen’s decision in this regard.
The study population consisted of 600 persons, 68% of whom were men and 32% women, all of the age 35 and above but the majority (45%) were aged 35 to 39. Almost 34% of them were school leavers (secondary certificate) and 27% had bachelor degrees. Government sector employees represented 40% of the group and private sector workers 27%, while pensioners represented 18%. The majority of the study population (47%) earned BD500 to BD999 per month while those earning less than BD500 per month represented 26%.
The analysis of the statistical data of the survey showed that 66% of the respondents were reluctant to undergo early breast or prostate cancer examinations. The general feeling (51%) is that there is no need for undergoing such examinations, but 42% of those who underwent these examinations say they intend to do it again every year.
The study also revealed that the availability of health insurance to cover the costs of early breast or prostate cancer screening tests does not necessarily encourage citizens to undergo such examination. Fifty-six percent (56%) of the respondents did not even know the terms of their health insurance cover and whether or not the costs of such examinations are included in the insurance policy.
The results of the analysis were as follows:
First: Subscription to Medical Insurance
Respondents were asked if they had medical insurance cover. The survey showed that 75% of the study population had no medical insurance as opposed to (25%) that had, as shown in Chart (1).
Chart 1. Distribution of respondents’ responses to subscription to medical insurance
Respondents who had insurance cover were asked whether or not the costs of early examination of breast or prostate cancer were covered by their insurance policy. The majority of respondents (56%) did not know if the policy covers the costs of this examination, which means that they lacked the knowledge of the terms of their insurance policies and the medical costs covered under their plans.
Chart 2. Distribution of insured respondents’ responses regarding the coverage of the cost of early breast and prostate cancer examinations in the medical insurance
Second: Undergoing Early Breast or Prostate Cancer Examinations
The survey asked the respondents whether they actually had undergone early breast or prostate cancer examinations. The majority (66%) said that they did not undergo such examination while only 34% said they had.
Chart 3. Distribution of sample members who did early breast or prostate cancer examination
Those who did not perform early breast or prostate cancer examinations were asked why they did not do so. The majority of respondents (51%) said that they did not see the need to undergo such tests. It is clear here that there is a lack of awareness, and this means that the concerned government bodies need to intensify their efforts to educate the people, especially through awareness campaigns targeting the 35-39 age group.