Americans living in poverty experience a higher incidence of and greater mortality from cancer than the nonpoor. At least 50% of the difference in mortality is believed to be due to delay in diagnosis, although risk-promoting lifestyles and behaviors also contribute to decreased survival. A potential exacerbating factor among the poor is inadequate information and knowledge about cancer and its treatment. Interviews were conducted with 128 cancer patients from a socioeconomically disadvantaged population to assess knowledge of cancer and its treatment and to evaluate care-seeking behaviors. Results indicated that although patients relied primarily on their physicians for information about their disease and treatment, a number of misconceptions regarding cancer existed in this population. Notably, nearly 50% of the patients surveyed either denied or did not know that smoking was related to the development of cancer. Additionally, patients frequently reported inappropriate care-seeking behaviors when asked to respond to a series of common disease-related signs or symptoms. These findings suggest that misinformation and misconceptions regarding cancer and its treatment among patients in this sample may contribute to inappropriate care-seeking behaviors.
730, beliefs, cancer patients, Consumer Satisfaction, Data Collection, Development, Diagnosis, disadvantaged, Disease, Female, Human, Incidence, information, Interviews, knowledge, Knowledge,Attitudes,Practice, Male, Middle Age, Mortality, Neoplasms: psychology, patient, Patient Acceptance of Health Care: statistics & numerical data, Patient Education, Patients, Physicians, population, Poverty, Regression Analysis, ResNet, Respond, Smoking, Socioeconomic Factors, Support,U.S.Gov't,P.H.S.