Personal communication in primary and secondary cancer prevention: Evolving discussions, emerging challenges

Jennifer Hay, Julie N. Harris, Erika A. Waters, Margaret F. Clayton, Lee Ellington, Alexis D. Abernethy, Heather Prayor-Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Over the past several years, the science of cancer communication has been recognized as integral to the dissemination of cancer prevention and control strategies in both the general population as well as higher-risk groups. In this article we draw upon current literature and small group discussion in the 2008 Society for Behavioral Medicine Cancer Special Interest Group Pre-Conference Workshop on Cancer Communication to identify current findings, critical challenges, and future opportunities regarding personal communication of primary and secondary prevention of cancer. We organize our article with six critical questions: (1) What are the most important directions of research in this area? (2) Does personal cancer communication work through rational processes, or are affective and nonrational processes also involved? (3) Are our efforts adequate to reach underserved populations? (4) Are naturalistic communicative contexts given adequate consideration? (5) Has the field been adequately informed by social psychological and communication theories? (6) What are the best outcomes to document communication effectiveness? Our goals are to initiate thought and collaborative efforts among communication, public health, and behavioral science experts, as well as to establish research priorities at the interface of communication and cancer prevention and control sciences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-29
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Communication
StatePublished - May 20 2009
Externally publishedYes

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