Open Access Open Badges Research article

Exploration of risk taking behaviors and perceived susceptibility of colorectal cancer among Malaysian adults: a community based cross-sectional study

Sami AR Al-Dubai1*, Kurubaran Ganasegeran2, Aied M Alabsi3, Shamsul A Shah4, Farid MM Razali5 and John T Arokiasamy1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community Medicine, International Medical University (IMU), No. 126, Jln Jalil Perkasa 19, Bukit Jalil, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

2 International Medical School, Management and Science University (MSU), University Drive, Off Persiaran Olahraga, Section 13, 40100 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

3 Oral Cancer Research And Coordinating Center, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya (UM), Kuala Lumpur 50603 Malaysia

4 Department of Community Health, UKM Medical Centre, Jalan Yaacob Latif, Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras, 56000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

5 Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine, Perdana University, Maeps Building, Mardi Complex, 43400 Serdang, SelangorMalaysia

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:930  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-930

Published: 7 October 2013



Perceived susceptibility to an illness has been shown to affect Health-risk behavior. The objective of the present study was to determine the risk taking behaviors and the demographic predictors of perceived susceptibility to colorectal cancer in a population-based sample.


A cross-sectional study was carried out among 305 Malaysian adults in six major districts, selected from urban, semi-urban, and rural settings in one state in Malaysia. A self-administered questionnaire was used in this study. It was comprised of socio-demographics, risk-taking behaviors, and validated domains of the Health Belief Model (HBM).


The mean (± SD) age of the respondents was 34.5 (± 9.6) and the majority (59.0%) of them were 30 years or older. Almost 20.7% of the respondents felt they were susceptible to colorectal cancer. Self-reported perceived susceptibility mirrored unsatisfactory screening behaviors owing to the lack of doctors’ recommendation, ignorance of screening modalities, procrastination, and the perception that screening was unnecessary. Factors significantly associated with perceived susceptibility to colorectal cancer were gender (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.0-3.3), age (OR = 2. 2, 95% CI 1.2-4.0), ethnicity (OR = 0. 3, 95% CI 0.2-0.6), family history of colorectal cancer (OR = 3. 2, 95% CI 1.4-7.4) and alcohol intake (OR = 3.9, 95% CI 2.1-7.5).


The present study revealed that screening behavior among respondents was unsatisfactory. Hence, awareness of the importance of screening to prevent colorectal cancers is imperative.

Behaviors; Colorectal cancer; Health Belief Model; Malaysia; Perceived susceptibility