Perceived cancer risk among American Indians: Implications for intervention research

Department of Development Sociology, Cornell University, 322 Warren Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
Ethnicity & disease (Impact Factor: 1). 09/2010; 20(4):458-62.
Source: PubMed


Perceived risk of disease plays a key role in health behaviors, making it an important issue for cancer-prevention research. We investigate associations between perceived cancer risk and selected cancer risk factors in a population-based sample of American Indians. STUDY DESIGN AND POPULATION: Data for this cross-sectional study come from a random sample of 182 American Indian adults, aged > or = 40 years, residing on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona.
Perception of cancer risk was ascertained with the 5-point Likert scale question, "How likely do you think it is that you will develop cancer in the future?" dichotomized into low perceived risk and high perceived risk.
Participants reporting a family member with cancer were more likely, by greater than five times, to report the perception that they would get cancer (OR = 5.3; 95% CI: 2.3, 12.3). After controlling for age and family history of cancer, knowledge of cancer risk factors and attitude about cancer prevention were not significantly associated with risk perception.
Perceived cancer risk was significantly associated with self-reported family history of cancer, supporting the importance of personal knowledge of cancer among American Indians. Further research is needed to obtain a more complete picture of the factors associated with perceptions of cancer risk among American Indians in order to develop effective interventions.

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    ABSTRACT: Cancer incidence among American Indians (AIs) is low, yet their 5-year relative survival rate is the second lowest of all US populations. Culturally relevant cancer prevention education is key to achieve health equity. This collaborative project of the Hualapai Tribe and University of Arizona modified the National Cancer Institute's 2003 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) to yield a more culturally relevant cancer information survey to document the health seeking behaviors and perceptions of cancer risks and preventability of AI adults residing in the Hualapai Indian community. A team of health care providers, educators and cancer survivors (six native and three non-natives) completed the adaptation. Four trained native surveyors administered the survey using a random household survey design. The Hualapai HINTS was well accepted (<5 % refusal rate) and was completed by 205 adults (20.5 % of all adult residents). Respondents reported a preference for and a trust in verbal cancer information and communication with health care professionals (77.1 % preference; 57.4 % trust) and at workshops (75.2 % preference; 45.5 % trust). Respondents were aware of some health behaviors associated with a reduced cancer risk, e.g., avoid tobacco use and need for screening. Respondents were less well informed about the role of diet and exercise. These findings were used to inform local cancer prevention education efforts and to develop a series of monthly workshops that engaged local health professionals to reinforce and discuss pathways of the primary role of lifestyle related factors, specifically diet and exercise in reducing cancer risk.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Journal of Community Health