Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 284–293 | Cite as

Knowledge and Practice of Colorectal Screening in a Suburban Group of Iraqi American Women

  • Irene Jillson
  • Zainab Faeq
  • Khaled W. Kabbara
  • Carolyn Cousin
  • William Mumford
  • Jan Blancato


Colorectal cancer (CRC) was the second most common cancer among women in 2008, accounting for 571,000 cases, and 9.4 % of all cancer cases afflicting women worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Iraqi National Cancer Registry (INCR), Iraq has seen a steady rise in CRC rates among its general population over the past several decades. Despite Iraq’s increasing national incidence of CRC and the growth of the US’ Iraqi immigrant population over the last 10 years, little remains known about the prevalence of CRC among the latter population, their knowledge of CRC and associated risk factors, or their behavioral intent and practices regarding CRC screening. The aims of this study were to (1) examine the knowledge of and adherence to National Cancer Institute screening recommendations for CRC among a population of Iraqi women living in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area and (2) test the efficacy of a one-time educational intervention conducted using linguistically and culturally appropriate materials to raise awareness of, and promote future adherence to, CRC screening methods. This descriptive study used a pre/post design with a 12-month follow-up. Following extensive dissemination of information regarding the study in the Iraqi American community in the study location, 50 women were initially recruited, of whom 32 participated in the study. The study’s findings revealed that the participants generally had low baseline levels of CRC screening adherence and preventive knowledge that significantly improved after the intervention as demonstrated by pre- and post-assessments of knowledge and behavior. These findings could be used to raise awareness (1) among clinicians regarding the need for early detection and screening of and referral for CRC treatment among Iraqi American women and (2) among Iraqi American women about risk factors for this disease and the importance of early detection and screening. The study also highlights the need for a larger study of knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions among both this population and the clinicians who serve them.


Iraqi refugees Women Immigrants CRC (colorectal cancer) Cancer prevention and screening 


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Jillson
    • 1
  • Zainab Faeq
    • 2
  • Khaled W. Kabbara
    • 1
  • Carolyn Cousin
    • 2
  • William Mumford
    • 1
  • Jan Blancato
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Nursing and Health StudiesGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.UDC/LCCC Cancer Biology and Prevention and Control ProgramUniversity of the District of ColumbiaWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of OncologyGeorgetown University Medical CenterWashingtonUSA

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