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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3102.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - 11:20 AM

Abstract #110914

Who believes that they are at risk?: Factors influencing perceived cancer risk in Maryland

Jeanetta Churchill, MS1, Carmela Groves, RN, MS2, Ebenezer Israel, MD, MPH1, Diane M. Dwyer, MD2, Min Zhan, PhD1, Annette Hopkins, RN, MS1, and Eileen Karen Steinberger, MD, MS1. (1) Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, 660 W. Redwood Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, 410-767-0789, estein@epi.umaryland.edu, (2) Center for Cancer Surveillance and Control, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 201 West Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

INTRODUCTION: Perceived risk of being diagnosed with cancer is a subjective measure that may be affected by psychosocial factors in addition to established cancer risk factors. The purpose of this analysis was to assess the influence that demographics, psychosocial predictor variables, and known cancer risk factors have on personal cancer risk perception. METHODS: Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were performed on 4,661 observations from the 2002 Maryland Cancer Survey, a weighted population-based survey of Maryland residents aged 40 years and older. Elevated perceived risk of getting cancer in the future was defined, by self-report, as medium or high, relative to low risk. RESULTS: Approximately 63% of Maryland residents aged 40 and older perceived that they had an elevated risk of developing cancer. An elevated perceived cancer risk was found among those with a high amount of cancer in the family (OR=14.4, 95% CI = 10.419.8), those concerned over future cancer diagnoses (OR=8.9, 95% CI = 6.811.7), those with a self-rated health status less than excellent, and daily cigarette smokers (OR=3.2, 95% CI = 2.44.1). A reduced perceived cancer risk was found among those aged 65 years and older (OR=0.7, 95% CI = 0.60.9), racial minorities (OR=0.6, 95% CI = 0.50.8 in blacks), and those earning less than $20,000 annually (OR=0.5, 95% CI = 0.40.7). CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that in Maryland, the elderly, racial minorities, and the poor are less likely to perceive that they are at risk for getting cancer in the future.

Learning Objectives: "At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Keywords: Cancer Prevention, Health Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Cancer Epidemiology

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA