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J La State Med Soc. 1999 Apr;151(4):202-8.

Enhancing cancer control: assessing cancer knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs in disadvantaged communities.

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Ochsner Cancer Institute's Center for Radiation Oncology, Ochsner Clinic, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


Four hundred and two residents of a lower socioeconomic, African-American community were surveyed to determine their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding cancer and cancer screening. The results from those surveyed were compared to those from 290 members of the Ochsner Health Plan. This group was predominantly white and of higher socioeconomic status. Both groups were health conscious and expressed a willingness to participate in cancer screening. There were significant differences noted in general cancer knowledge between the two groups. A number of etiologic myths about cancer were still prevalent in the African-American community. Overall, participants in the African-American community had a more fatalistic view of cancer and were less trusting of the medical community. Cancer screening rates were similar for cervical and colorectal cancer but were significantly higher for breast and prostate cancers. The results of the survey identify a number of barriers to cancer screening among this African-American community and support the need for a culturally sensitive, community-based cancer education program.

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