Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/27108
- Has the investment in public cancer education delivered observable changes in knowledge over the past 10 years?
Walsh, Raoul A.;
- BACKGROUND: During the 1990s, Western countries, such as Australia, directed substantial funds toward public cancer education. An important indicator of whether this investment has been worthwhile is a shift over time in the proportion of the population who have accurate knowledge regarding cancer. METHODS: In the year 2000, a cross-sectional telephone survey was administered to 685 residents selected from the New South Wales (Australia) Electronic White Pages telephone directory. This study replicated in part a survey conducted in 1989. RESULTS: In the 2000 survey, smoking (96.0%) and sun exposure (80.4%) were well-known as risk factors for lung cancer and melanoma, respectively. However, community knowledge of risk factors for colorectal, breast, cervical, and prostate cancer was poor. Most respondents were able to nominate mammograms (82.2%) and Pap tests (86.8%) as screening tests for breast and cervical cancer, respectively. Approximately two-thirds of the sample were able to nominate foods that reduce the risk of developing cancer. Compared with the 1989 data, there appeared to have been improvements in community knowledge of mammograms as a screening test for breast cancer. For the other cancers, knowledge gains appeared smaller or marginal. With regard to the lifetime risk of developing these cancers, community understanding remains poor. Predictors of greater knowledge include a higher level of education. CONCLUSIONS: Where ongoing investments have been made, like in the case of breast cancer education, there have been improvements in community knowledge. However, major challenges remain. Potential targets for future public education campaigns are discussed.
- Cancer Vol. 97, Issue 12, p. 2931-2939
- Publisher Link
- John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Resource Type
- journal article