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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The association between acculturation and awareness of cancer risk factors among Iranian immigrants in Greater Vancouver Afghari, Narsis


Introduction: After immigration, cancer rates among immigrant populations shift to rates in the country of destination. Acculturation is one of the theories which can explain these changes in cancer rates. People who lived in a different environment for years start to live and adapt to the new culture in their country of destination. This process is called acculturation. This thesis investigates the association between acculturation with awareness of cancer risk factors and health behaviours among Iranian immigrants in the Greater Vancouver area. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study on Iranian immigrants who were living in Greater Vancouver, born in Iran, aged 18 to 55 years, who had not been previously diagnosed with cancer, and were not pregnant at the time of the study. Voluntary and snowball sampling were used to reach a sample of 205 participants who completed an online survey for data collection. Participants were asked about their sociodemographic status, acculturation, cancer awareness, anthropometrics, smoking habits, drinking, physical activity level, fruit, vegetable, and red/processed meat intake. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression were used to model the associations between acculturation with awareness of cancer risk factors and cancer behaviours. Results: Iranian immigrants were highly aware of smoking as a cancer risk factor. The majority of participants were not aware that age, eating less than five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, eating red or processed meat once a day or more, getting sunburnt more than once as a child, and infection with HPV increases the chance of getting cancer. Acculturation was positively associated with being highly aware of cancer risk factors (AOR: 1.28, 95% CI: [1.09, 1.50]) Also, acculturation had a positive association with drinking (AOR 1.30 [95% CI: 1.14, 1.50]). Conclusion: The awareness of cancer risk factors among Iranian immigrants in the Greater Vancouver area was low. More acculturated participants had a higher awareness of cancer risk factors. Also, acculturation was associated with higher likelihood of drinking alcohol. Launching tailored health education programs for Iranian immigrants is suggested. Continued research in this area, and translation into cancer prevention policies among immigrants is needed.

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