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Patient Educ Couns. 2005 Feb;56(2):154-65.

The general public's information needs and perceptions regarding hereditary cancer: an application of the Integrated Change Model.

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Department of Health Education, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.


The Integrated Change Model (the I-Change Model) was used to analyse the general public's need and perceptions concerning receiving information on the role of hereditary factors with regard to cancer. The results from a study in 457 Dutch adults showed that 25% correctly indicated the types of cancer where hereditary factors can play a role. Respondents, however, overestimated the role of hereditary factors causing breast cancer. Recognition of warning signs was low, as was the recognition of inheritance patterns. Participants wanted to know the types of cancer with hereditary aspects, how to recognise hereditary cancer in the family, personal risks and the steps to be taken when hereditary predisposition is suspected. The most popular information channels mentioned were leaflets, the general practitioner, and the Internet. Respondents interested in receiving information on heredity and cancer were more often female, had had experiences with hereditary diseases, had more knowledge, perceived more advantages, encountered more social support in seeking information, and had higher levels of self-efficacy. Education should outline the most important facts about hereditary cancer, how to get support, and create realistic expectations of the impact of genetic factors.

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