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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 1999 Aug;10(3):281-97.

Cancer control research and literacy.


Low literacy may be an important predictor of increased cancer risk and poor participation in cancer control programs. Results of the National Adult Literacy Survey indicate that about 90 million individuals, slightly less than half of the U.S. adult population, demonstrate low or limited literacy skills. In contrast, the average health education brochure, pamphlet, or instruction sheet requires a 10th-grade or higher level of reading ability to be understood. Guidelines exist for the development of more readable printed materials; studies have also found that nonprint approaches such as video education are viable alternatives to printed materials. Research on patient populations indicates that educational approaches targeted to low-literacy groups can be effective in reaching individuals with cancer control information. This review identifies the most important areas of needed research and makes recommendations for the development of a research agenda on cancer control and literacy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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