Original paper

Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 135-140

Is it time to change the stereotype of cancer: the expert view

  • Alice E. SimonAffiliated withCancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London Email author 
  • , Jane WardleAffiliated withCancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London
  • , Anne MilesAffiliated withCancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London

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Abstract

Objectives

Negative public attitudes towards cancer may contribute to delays in presentation and present barriers to providing quality care. This study explored the views of cancer experts regarding the content of public health messages to improve public attitudes to cancer.

Methods

Twenty-one healthcare professionals (HCPs) from a range of backgrounds took part took part in interviews. Interview transcripts were evaluated using thematic analysis focusing on the HCPs views of the prevailing negative stereotype of cancer patients and their recommendations for cancer awareness campaigns that could redress this view.

Results

HCPs contrasted the progress that had been made in the effective management of cancer with popular stereotypes and media representations. Information quality and supply were identified as barriers to changing the cancer stereotype held by the public.

Conclusions

HCPs believe there is a need for more information about cancer in the public domain and it should focus on providing more balanced messages that include information about the improvements that have been achieved in preventing and treating cancer.

Keywords

Public health Health education Cancer