Public perceptions of cancer prevention, screening, and survival: comparison with state-of-science evidence for colon, skin, and lung cancer Journal Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Lay understanding of cancer prevention, screening, and survival may influence health behavior and health outcomes. METHODS: Data were from the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). In our analyses, we describe population (N = 5586) beliefs about cancer prevention, detection, and survival for colon, lung, and skin cancer and compare beliefs with state-of-science evidence. We examined differences by sociodemographic subgroups. RESULTS: A majority of respondents responded consistently with state-of-science evidence in prevention for colon (78.2%), lung (81.2%), and skin cancer (83.5%). Respondents' perceptions of screening for colon cancer were generally consistent with state-of-science evidence (89.9%); however, fewer respondents' responded consistently with state-of-science in screening for lung (12.6%) and skin cancer (11.9%). Finally, respondents' estimates of survival/cure of colon (66.2%) and skin cancer (63.6%) were consistent with state-of-the-science evidence in survival; however, a minority of respondents' estimates of lung cancer survival (17.3%) were consistent with state-of-science. Sociodemographic associates of state-of-science consistent responses included younger age, greater education, and White race. CONCLUSIONS: Public knowledge of cancer prevention, screening, and survival varies by type of cancer, levels of evidence, and sociodemographic factors. These findings provide an evidence base for improving public awareness and understanding of cancer prevention, screening, and survival.

publication date

  • 2009