Improving Cancer Risk Awareness Including Obesity as a Risk Factor for Cancer in a Small U.S. Community

Janani R. Thapa, Conrad Lyford, Barent McCool, Barbara Pence, Audrey McCool, Eric Belasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Obesity is a risk for certain types of cancer; however, awareness of obesity as a risk factor for cancer is low. This study evaluated increases in cancer risk awareness, including obesity as a risk factor for cancer, from a quasi-experimental intervention that provided educational materials and community reinforcement for healthy living. The study uses data on participant’s awareness of cancer risk factors along with sociodemographic variables collected from in-person surveys (N = 863) at baseline (June 2011) and post intervention (June 2012). The average awareness that overweight and obesity are risk factors for cancer was low (35 %) compared to chewing tobacco (92 %), using tanning bed (73 %), and sunburn (97 %) at baseline. The intervention significantly increased participants’ awareness that overweight and obesity are risk factors for cancer. Based on regression analysis, the unadjusted intervention effect on cancer risk awareness was significant: 0.392 ± 0.165 (p value = 0.020) for matched participants and 0.282 ± 0.125 (p value = 0.024) for community participants. The adjusted intervention effect was significant in the matched participants (0.528 ± 0.189, p value = 0.006). Education, income, gender, and age had a significant impact on cancer risk awareness for the community participants. The results show that community intervention that incorporates community reinforcement can have the desired effect regardless of differences at participant level. Such interventions could be used to prevent cancer risk in communities that are at high risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-835
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

Keywords

  • Cancer risk awareness
  • Community
  • Obesity
  • Reinforcements

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