The research was aimed at understanding the perception and raising awareness on colorectal cancer among the public and in particular among individuals with anorectal and gastrointestinal disorders, usually traditionally designated as “pile” in northern Nigeria. The fact that some gastrointestinal abnormalities with symptoms of inflammation and hemorrhages in individuals could be signs of early-stage polyposis justifies the need to raise awareness on colorectal cancers among this particular risk group and the general populace. Survey information like background knowledge on colorectal cancer, familial cancer history, usage of herbal remedies, and incidence of anal inflammation, bleeding, and hemorrhages was collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Criteria used for inclusion were that the respondents have symptoms of anorectal or gastrointestinal disorders or were asymptomatic but believed they are at risk and hence were taking herbal remedies for preventive purposes against such disorders. A total of 142 men patronizing herbalists selling pile remedies in rural Zaria were sampled for the study. All were adults, 25% were above fifty years, 31% were in their forties, and 26% were in their thirties while 18% were less than thirty years. From the survey, 82% of respondents believed they have symptoms of gastrointestinal or anorectal disorders (out of whom 77% are using herbal remedies) while 18% consume this herbal preparations because they believe they have preventive effects against gastrointestinal diseases. From the results, 95% are aware of the term “cancer,” but only 44% have an idea of what colorectal cancers are while only 12% have knowledge of the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancers. Majority of the respondents (79%) believed that cancers generally are better managed using traditional alternative medicine. The study further reveals that majority (86%) of the respondents do not know or believe that inflammatory bowel diseases and anal bleeding are potential risk factors in colorectal cancer; however, 47% of the respondents know or believe that early detection of cancers in general is important for treatment. In addition, only 17% of these respondents have attended clinics in respect to their gastrointestinal or anorectal disorders while none of these have undergone any clinical screening for colorectal cancer. The results from the study summarily indicate that there is generally poor knowledge of colorectal cancer and a general perception among the respondents that gastrointestinal disorders and cancers are better cured using alternative traditional medicines. The study recommends, among others, increased cancer education with particular attention to enlightenment on benefits of clinical treatments and importance of screening for early detection and possible intervention.

Citation Format: Mubarak Labaran Liman, Mubarak L. Liman, Sunday E. Atawodi, Iliemene E. Dorathy, Iliemene E. Dorathy, Nafisat Aliyu. Knowledge and perceptions on colorectal cancer among male adults taking herbal remedies against anorectal or gastrointestinal disorders in rural Zaria, Nigeria [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Tenth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2017 Sep 25-28; Atlanta, GA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2018;27(7 Suppl):Abstract nr C13.