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Narrowing the cancer knowledge gap between whites and African Americans.

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  • 1Department of Speech Communication, University of Maryland, College Park 20742.

Abstract

The results of three studies are reported, all of which explore the cancer knowledge gap between African Americans and Whites and the cancer information-seeking behavior of African Americans. In study 1, 5000 randomly selected Call Record Forms from African American and White callers to the Cancer Information Service (CIS) were analyzed to compare characteristics of callers and motivations for information seeking. In study 2, 54 indepth interviews were conducted with African American callers recruited from five CIS offices to explore the callers' motivations for information seeking and the quality of their experience with the CIS. Study 3 was a random-digit dial survey of 601 African American residents of the District of Columbia and Prince George's County, Maryland, to assess their cancer knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors as well as their use and trust of information sources. In study 1, we found that African Americans who called the CIS were very similar to the White callers in two respects: their educational levels were particularly high, and most were female. Proportionally more African Americans, however, were general-public callers, and fewer African Americans than Whites were classified as family or friends of patients. In study 2, we found that most of the African American callers, originally classified as general-public callers, actually were family members of cancer patients or symptomatic individuals. Typically, they were quite satisfied with their information-seeking experience; most of them followed the behavioral suggestions given in the phone call. In study 3, we found further evidence of a knowledge gap (measured by education) within the African American community. Those respondents with the most education were also more knowledgeable about cancer, held the most positive attitudes toward the disease, and more frequently practiced most of the recommended behaviors. Television continued to emerge as the most important source for cancer information and awareness of the CIS.

PMID:
8123362
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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