Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Patient Educ Couns. 2012 Jun;87(3):327-35. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2011.11.014. Epub 2012 Jan 12.

Using visual displays to communicate risk of cancer to women from diverse race/ethnic backgrounds.

Author information

  • 1Medical Effectiveness Research Center for Diverse Populations, UCSF, USA.



This study evaluated how well women from diverse race/ethnic groups were able to take a quantitative cancer risk statistic verbally provided to them and report it in a visual format.


Cross-sectional survey was administered in English, Spanish or Chinese, to women aged 50-80 (n=1160), recruited from primary care practices. The survey contained breast, colorectal or cervical cancer questions regarding screening and prevention. Women were told cancer-specific lifetime risk then shown a visual display of risk and asked to indicate the specific lifetime risk. Correct indication of risk was the main outcome.


Correct responses on icon arrays were 46% for breast, 55% for colon, and 44% for cervical; only 25% correctly responded to a magnifying glass graphic. Compared to Whites, African American and Latina women were significantly less likely to use the icon arrays correctly. Higher education and higher numeracy were associated with correct responses. Lower education was associated with lower numeracy.


Race/ethnic differences were associated with women's ability to take a quantitative cancer risk statistic verbally provided to them and report it in a visual format.


Systematically considering the complexity of intersecting factors such as race/ethnicity, educational level, poverty, and numeracy in most health communications is needed.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk