Using NCI-designated cancer center catchment-area data to understand an ignored but high-need constituent: People uncertain or avoidant about their cancer risk

Jennifer L. Hay, Marc T. Kiviniemi, Heather Orom, Erika A. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In 2016, the NCI provided supplemental funding to 15 NCI-designated cancer centers to enhance cancer centers' capacity to collect critical catchment-area data across behavioral and psychosocial domains [March 2019 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (CEBP)-CEBP Focus]. In response, we highlight opportunities for cancer risk perception research when collecting and utilizing catchment-area data given the remarkably high proportions of individuals who report they are at average cancer risk, high levels of cancer risk information avoidance, and extremely negative ("death") associations with cancer. First, we advocate for enhanced measurement specificity regarding whether some participants may be uncertain regarding their cancer risk. Second, we advocate for examination of whether the large proportion of people who rate their risk as average have common (demographic and attitudinal) characteristics, which may dictate specific and targeted cancer prevention and control intervention. Finally, we advocate for further examination of cancer risk information avoidance and negative cancer associations to clarify subgroups that may fail to engage with risk information. Given the ubiquity of risk uncertainty, information avoidance, and negative cancer associations, further research into these prevalent beliefs will enhance our ability to bring the latest information regarding cancer prevention and control to the general population of the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1955-1957
Number of pages3
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Volume28
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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