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Survey finds significant racial differences in lung cancer beliefs
Date:2/22/2010

ey participants were also asked their thoughts on how likely they were to develop lung cancer when compared with the average person and what percentage of people who develop lung cancer survive at least five years.

The investigators found that both African Americans and whites grossly underestimated the lethality of lung cancer. Most respondents indicated that they did not place themselves at high risk for lung cancer, and both groups overestimated the survival of lung cancer dramatically. Most of the survey questions were answered similarly, but there were a few replies that differed by race. African Americans were more likely than whites to agree that there were too many recommendations for preventing lung cancer (53 percent vs 37 percent), to be reluctant to be checked for lung cancer (22 percent vs 9 percent), and to expect symptoms prior to a diagnosis of lung cancer (51 percent vs 32 percent). African Americans were also less likely than whites to agree that lung cancer is caused by behavior or lifestyles (73 percent vs 85 percent). The differences observed indicate that clinicians and health officials must better communicate information about lung cancer to the public.

The authors say their research does not suggest that patient perceptions and beliefs are the only reason treatment differences exist by race, but they could play a role. Perceptions and beliefs could keep patients from seeking appropriate medical care and could negatively affect physician-patient interactions. "Racial disparities in health are multifactorial, with access to care, patient factors such as lifestyle choice and lifetime exposures, and physician factors all having some impact," the authors write.


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Contact: David Sampson
david.sampson@cancer.org
American Cancer Society
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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