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J Cancer Educ. 2018 Jul 19. doi: 10.1007/s13187-018-1400-2. [Epub ahead of print]

The Relationship Between Health Literacy, Cancer Prevention Beliefs, and Cancer Prevention Behaviors.

Author information

1
Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 02155, USA. Sasha.fleary@tufts.edu.
2
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
3
Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 02155, USA.
4
Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

While cancer prevention behaviors have been clearly defined, many people do not engage in these risk-reduction behaviors. Factors such as cancer prevention beliefs and limited health literacy may undermine cancer prevention behavior recommendations. This study explored the relationships between cancer prevention beliefs, health literacy, and cancer prevention behaviors. Data were analyzed from the 2013 Health Information National Trends Survey (nā€‰=ā€‰1675). Regression analyses for four cancer prevention belief (prevention is not possible, cancer is fatal, there are too many recommendations for prevention, everything causes cancer) statements were modeled, including health literacy and sociodemographic variables as predictors. In addition, separate regression analyses predicted four cancer prevention behaviors (fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, cigarette smoking) from cancer prevention beliefs, health literacy, and sociodemographic variables. Participants with low health literacy were more likely to hold fatalistic cancer prevention beliefs than those with higher health literacy. Cancer prevention beliefs were related to less fruit and vegetable consumption, fewer days of physical activity, and with being a nonsmoker after controlling for sociodemographic variables. Health literacy was not a significant predictor of cancer prevention behaviors. Given the relationship between health literacy and cancer prevention beliefs, research is needed to ascertain how to empower patients with low health literacy to have a more realistic understanding of cancer.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer; Cancer prevention behaviors; Cigarette smoking; Diet; Fatalism; Fruits and vegetables; Health literacy; Physical activity

PMID:
30022378
DOI:
10.1007/s13187-018-1400-2

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