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J Cancer Educ. 2017 Mar;32(1):141-147. doi: 10.1007/s13187-015-0939-4.

User Perceptions and Reactions to an Online Cancer Risk Assessment Tool: a Process Evaluation of Cancer Risk Check.

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The Ohio State University, 154 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.
Stephenson Cancer Center, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.
The Ohio State University, 154 N. Oval Mall, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA.
Prairie View A&M University, 100 University Dr, Prairie View, TX, 77446, USA.


Online cancer risk assessment tools, which provide personalized cancer information and recommendations based on personal data input by users, are a promising cancer education approach; however, few tools have been evaluated. A randomized controlled study was conducted to compare user impressions of one tool, Cancer Risk Check (CRC), to non-personalized educational information delivered online as series of self-advancing slides (the control). CRC users (N = 1452) rated the tool to be as interesting as the control (p > .05), but users were more likely to report that the information was difficult to understand and not applicable to them (p < .05). Information seeking and sharing also were lower among CRC users; thus, although impressions of CRC were favorable, it was not shown to be superior to existing approaches. We hypothesized CRC was less effective because it contained few visual and graphical elements; therefore, CRC was compared to a text-based control (online PDF file) post hoc. CRC users rated the information to be more interesting, less difficult to understand, and better able to hold their attention (p < .05). Post hoc results suggest the visual presentation of risk is critical to tool success.


Health communication; Risk assessment

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