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Health Commun. 2002;14(3):377-95.

Women's perceptions of the risks of age-related diseases, including breast cancer: reports from a 3-year research study.

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Center for Risk Communication, USA.


Misperceptions of health risks lead many women to misunderstand their risks and fail to take appropriate measures to prevent or treat many diseases. This article analyzes the impact of various sources of information on the perceptions and misperceptions of women regarding the risks of age-related diseases. This article shows that most of the women respondents held incorrect beliefs about their risk of heart disease, breast and lung cancer, and osteoporosis; half held inaccurate beliefs about disease-related statistical correlation and causation, and about dose-response relations; and many lacked the skills necessary to evaluate media reports about health and medicine. This article indicates that information and education related to health issues, focused on improved public understanding and decision making related to health risks, is needed to achieve improved health outcomes.

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