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Nutrients. 2019 Aug 14;11(8). pii: E1897. doi: 10.3390/nu11081897.

Assessment of Food Safety Knowledge and Behaviors of Cancer Patients Receiving Treatment.

Author information

1
Department of Human Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
2
Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
3
Department of Radiation Oncology, College of Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
4
Department of Human Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA. ilic.2@osu.edu.

Abstract

Cancer patients receiving treatment are at a higher risk for the acquisition of foodborne illness than the general population. Despite this, few studies have assessed the food safety behaviors, attitudes, risk perceptions, and food acquisition behaviors of this population. Further, no studies have, yet, quantified the food safety knowledge of these patients. This study aims to fill these gaps in the literature by administering a thorough questionnaire to cancer patients seeking treatment in three hospitals in a Midwest, metropolitan area. Demographic, treatment, food security, and food safety knowledge, behaviors, attitudes, risk perceptions, and acquisition information was assessed for 288 patients. Specific unsafe attitudes, behaviors, and acquisition practices were identified. Most notable is that 49.4% (n = 139) of participants were not aware that they were at increased risk of foodborne infection, due to their disease and treatment. Additionally, though patients exhibited a general understanding of food safety, the participant average for correctly answering the food safety questions was 74.77% ± 12.24%. The section concerning food storage showed lowest participant knowledge, with an average score of 69.53% ± 17.47%. Finally, patients reporting low food security also reported a higher incidence of unsafe food acquisition practices (P < 0.05). These findings will help healthcare providers to better educate patients in the food safety practices necessary to decrease risk of foodborne infection, and to provide targeted food safety education to low-food-security patients.

KEYWORDS:

cancer; food insecurity; food safety; food safety knowledge; foodborne disease

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