Nav: Home

Do rural populations experience greater worry and fatalism about cancer?

March 07, 2019

Researchers will answer that question today at the Society of Behavioral Medicine's 40th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions.

People living in rural areas are more likely to have ambiguous beliefs and fears about getting cancer, as well as more fatalistic viewpoints than urban dwellers, reports a research team from Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, with campuses in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The center's catchment area includes 29 counties in five states with multiple rural areas. The team conducted a population-based survey of randomly selected households across the three regions of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center catchment area, receiving 1,157 completed responses.

"Survey respondents who live in the rural areas were more likely to agree with statements such as 'It seems like everything causes cancer,' 'There is not much you can do to lower your chances of getting cancer,' and 'There are so many different recommendations about preventing cancer, it's hard to know which ones to follow,' says Kristin J. Harden, M.P.H., a health services researcher at Mayo Clinic and the study's lead author. "They were also more likely to respond 'extremely' to the question 'How worried are you about getting cancer?'"

Even though the team controlled for social and demographic variables, such as education, race and ethnicity, and health insurance status; they found that in general, people living in rural areas preferred not to know what their risk of developing cancer was.

What you don't know can't hurt you ...

In this instance at least, a lack of knowledge could be deadly. "Having these kinds of pessimistic beliefs towards cancer prevention may discourage participation in cancer prevention and screening, which could contribute to health disparities," says Harden.

Recent reports indicate that both the incidence rates of cancer, as well as cancer-related deaths, are decreasing in the U.S. However, in rural areas, observed declines are slower. In fact, Harden says, "this is particularly true for cancers that can be prevented through behavior change, such as stopping smoking or participating in evidence-based cancer screenings such as colonoscopy."

"Public health researchers and health care professionals working in rural areas need to understand these attitudes, as well as the variability across the different communities they work in," she says.

"Interventions that work in one community may not work in another. Therefore, professionals developing potential interventions should do so in collaboration with community members to ensure alignment with individual community needs and values."

Collaboration and continued research

The research team hopes to expand on these findings, collaborating with rural community members to help better understand the findings and collect ideas that could lead to customized interventions for different communities.

"This research is directly responsive to NCI priorities, both with its focus on catchment area and on rural populations," says study senior author Lila Finney Rutten, Ph.D., M.P.H., Professor of Health Services Research in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science; and the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Scientific Director for Population Health Science, in the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

"We expect these findings to inform our continued research in Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, as well as to improve our ability to better engage with and care for our rural populations," says Dr. Rutten.
-end-
About Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

As a leading institution funded by the National Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center conducts basic, clinical and population science research, translating discoveries into improved methods for prevention, diagnosis, prognosis and therapy. It is part of Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, comprehensive care to everyone who needs healing. For information on cancer clinical trials, call the Clinical Trials Referral Office at 1-855-776-0015 (toll-free). Learn more about Mayo Clinic.

About SBM

The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) is a 2,400-member organization of scientific researchers, clinicians and educators. They study interactions among behavior, biology and the environment, and translate findings into interventions that improve the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities (http://www.sbm.org).

Mayo Clinic

Related Cancer Articles:

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...