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J Health Commun. 2006;11 Suppl 1:71-92.

Predictors of perceived risk for colon cancer in a national probability sample in the United States.

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Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, New York, New York 10022, USA.


This study examines potential predictors of perceived risk for colon cancer in a U.S. sample of 2,949 individuals aged 45 and older with no colon cancer history. We examined perceived comparative risk for colon cancer as the outcome in ordinal regression analyses, and perceived absolute risk for colon cancer in linear regression analyses. Potential predictors included demographics, current risk behaviors, self-reported health, family and personal cancer history, emotion variables (colon cancer worry, general anxiety, and fear of positive screening findings), general cancer beliefs (causes, lack of preventability, information overload), and cancer information seeking. Those who had poorer self-reported health, a family cancer history, and increased colon cancer worry had higher perceived comparative and absolute colon cancer risk (all ps < .05). Those who were younger, interviewed in Spanish, had increased anxiety, and information overload had higher comparative risk; those with a personal history of cancer and fear that colon cancer screening would result in positive findings had higher absolute risk (all ps < .05). We determined that older individuals, those with risk factors, and those with good subjective health may not realize their colon cancer risk. Those distressed about colon cancer and who report cancer prevention information overload may require different messages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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