Cancer and disease myths: An exploratory analysis
Park, Elyse Richelle
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Black and Hispanic groups have relatively low screening rates and high mortality rates for cancer. Cultural barriers can contribute to low screening rates and delayed medical treatment. The purpose of this study is to explore the role of ethnicity and other demographic variables which are relevant to the perception of disease and cancer.;The sample was composed of 1381 Black and Hispanic home health care attendants in the Bronx. Ages ranged from 19-77 (M = 38). Education ranged from 1 to 17 years (M = 10.8). 51% of the sample was primarily Spanish speaking, 49% primarily English speaking. The majority of the sample was born outside of the United States.;Three outcome measures were created through factor analysis of 8 cancer and 6 disease myth questions: causes of cancer, causes of disease, and equating cancer with death. Independent variables included acculturation, language, ethnicity, cancer knowledge, familiarity, schooling, age, religion, and religiosity.;Conclusions included details of what determines each of the three outcome variables. Demographics contributing to health beliefs are reviewed. Health care professionals should be aware that patients hold these beliefs, and suggestions for improvement of physician-patient communication and preventive health behavior, in light of the results, are detailed.