Nurses’ knowledge on cancer varies worldwide, putting patients at risk
New research shows nurses’ knowledge of cancer and screen processes varies significantly across the globe, and it’s putting patients at risk.
The research, undertaken by the University of Surrey and published in the European Journal of Oncology Nursing, investigated nurses’ awareness of cancer warning signs, cancer screening, and the frequency of discussions held with patients about early cancer diagnosis.
The eight-country study found that there was substantial variation in the nurses’ knowledge regarding cancer screening and warning signs. For example, only 9.1% of nurses in Joran knew the recommended age for initiating colorectal screenings, while only 12.5% of Brazilian nurses knew the correct age for commencing breast screenings. This contrasted significantly with results from the UK, where over 90% of nurses correctly answered these questions.
Researchers also found deviations in the understanding of nurses when it came to the frequency of screenings and early warning signs.
The study’s lead author, Hanna Skrobanski, said, “it [was] concerning that knowledge amongst nurses of warning signs and screening varies enormously across the globe. Lack of knowledge could delay patients accessing treatment and result in unnecessary deaths”.
She added, “Cancer is the second leading cause of deaths worldwide” and that nurses played a “key role” in responding to its warning signs and diagnosis.