Attitudes to Cancer

  • Committee on Public Education of the Commission on Cancer Control
Conference paper
Part of the UICC Monograph Series book series (UICC, volume 5)

Abstract

This chapter will deal with topics related directly to attitudes to cancer and other diseases; the nature, sources, and extent of these attitudes both in the medical profession and in the general population.

Keywords

Sugar Arthritis Lymphoma Leukemia Tuberculosis 

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References

Attitudes to Cancer

  1. Dargent, M., (1962). La cancérophobie. Acta Un. int. Cancr. 18, 709. 476 cases of cancerophobia, one third of which were neurotic, two-thirds had a normal fear. Only 3.5% of the 476 in fact had a neoplasm.Google Scholar
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Major public oplaion surveys on cancer

  1. (N.B. The dates refer to publication: in each instance the survey was carried out earlier.)Google Scholar

Argentina

  1. 1964.
    Seeber, A. B. de S., Public opinion on cancer in Argentina. U.I.C.C. Bull. 2, No. 4, 3, (1964).Google Scholar

Australia, Perth

  1. 1965.
    A social survey of community attitudes to cancer. Cancer Council of Western Australia 1966.Google Scholar

Canada

  1. 1955.
    Phillips, A. J. Public opinion on cancer in Canada. Canad. med. Ass. J. 73, 639, (1955).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 1961.
    Phillips, A. J., and Taylor, R. M. Public opinion on cancer in Canada: A second survey. Canad. med. Ass. J. 84, 142 (1961).PubMedGoogle Scholar

England, Manchester

  1. 1954.
    Paterson, R., and Aitken-Swan, J. Public opinion on cancer: A survey among women in The Manchester Area. Lancet ii, 857, (1954).Google Scholar
  2. 1958.
    Paterson, R., and Aitken-Swan, J. Public opinion on cancer: Changes following five years of cancer education. Lancet ii, 791, (1958).Google Scholar
  3. 1964.
    Women’s knowledge of and opinions on cancer. An Interim Pilot Survey for the Manchester Comittee on Cancer (Manchester: Derek Roe Associates Ltd.)Google Scholar

Italy

  1. 1963.
    Morandi, G., Vivori, C. e Mengon, M., Le conoscenze e gli orientamenti del pubblico in tema di tumori maligni [Public opinion and knowledge about cancer]. Riv. med. Trentina 1, 69, (1963). (Italian text.)Google Scholar

Poland

  1. 1963.
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United States of America

  1. 1948.
    Summarized in 1956 and 1964 (below).Google Scholar
  2. 1956.
    Horn, D. et al. Public opinion on cancer and the American Cancer Society: A report of a national Sample Survey. New York: American Cancer Society Inc. 1956.Google Scholar
  3. 1964.
    Horn, D., and Waingrow, S. What changes are occuring in public opinion toward cancer: National public opinion survey. Amer. J. publ. Hlth. 54, 431, (1964).Google Scholar

Other references

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Delay studies

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  22. Goldsen, R. K. (1963). Patient delay in seeking cancer diagnosis: Behavioral aspects. J. chron. Dis. 16, 427.PubMedGoogle Scholar
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  26. Hammerschlag, C. A., Fisher, S., De Cosse, J., and Kaplan, E. (1964). Breast symptoms and patient delay: Psychological variables involved. Cancer (Philad.) 17, 1480. Sample of forty-one patients. Tested two hypotheses: (1) that people with more sharply (subjectively) defined body boundaries would delay more, and (2) that a person who habitually employs the defence-mechanisms of denial or repression would delay more. The first hypothesis was supported, the second was not. The authors suggest that those who have a well-defined body boundary “feel more secure about their bodies, less threatened by its symptomatic alteration, and, therefore, had less need to seek immediate assistance”. Furthermore, it was suggested, they delayed even more because they were less willing to enter into a submissive, dependent relationship such as exists between patient and doctor, or in a hospital. The authors suggested that one implication of their findings is that emphasis on the personal responsibility of the individual will be most effective (if not essential) in educating such people (delayers) to seek treatment early.PubMedGoogle Scholar
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  38. The authors distinguish between delay and procrastination. Delay can be unavoidable or avoidable. Only avoidable delay can be truly called procrastination; it is a failure to seek medical attention once the symptoms appear and are recognized as significant. The distinction made here is (a) between biological onset and first appearance of symptoms, and (b) between this appearance and the patient’s recognition of a legitimate medical complaint. To distinguish thus between causes of delay (insidious nature of the disease, failure to appreciate the significance of the early symptoms of cancer, and the true procrastination) is important in constructing hypotheses regarding delay and in understanding variations in behaviour within and between populations.Google Scholar
  39. The authors make a very extensive review of earlier studies dealing with:(1) The prevalence of delay on the part of both patients and doctors. (2) Duration of patient-delay and doctor-delay. (3) Reasons for delay considered under several headings: patient-delay (knowledge of symptoms etc., psychological factors); physician-delay (failure to examine, diagnostic failure, wrong treatment or advice, medical attitudes and beliefs, insensitivity to the medical problem and to the patient, pessimism etc.).Google Scholar
  40. The discussion points out some of the major inadequacies of the studies reviewed, and calls into question the vast majority, since they “neither provide for individual differences in the basic reasons for promptness and delay, nor for individual differences regarding the site, symptomatology, and severity of the disease and the symptomatic onset”. Finally, the authors consider some of the problems which their review of the literature on delay has shown to be in need of further research.Google Scholar
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1967

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  • Committee on Public Education of the Commission on Cancer Control

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