Evaluation of the St. Jude Cancer Education for Children Program on Cancer Risk Awareness, Attitudes, and Behavioral Intentions Among Fourth-Grade Science Students: Comparisons Between Racially Identifiable/High-Poverty Schools and Racially Diverse/Affluent Schools

  • Katherine AyersEmail author
  • James Klosky
  • Zhenghong Li
  • Aubrey Van Kirk Villalobos


The St. Jude Cancer Education for Children Program (SJCECP) aims to teach children about cancer and cancer control behaviors. During the 2012–2014 academic year, we conducted a pilot evaluation of the SJCECP curriculum to determine its impact on cancer risk awareness, attitudes, and behavioral intentions among fourth-grade students participating in the program. Nine local schools and 426 students from the Memphis area participated in the program evaluation. The results of this study show an increase in fourth-grade students’ overall cancer risk factor awareness, attitudes, and behavioral intentions after participation in the intervention. The study also compared the mean change score for unaware students (e.g., those whose mean item score was < 3.5 on the pre-test) between students from racially identifiable/high-poverty schools (school group 1; six schools) and racially diverse/affluent schools (school group 2; three schools). Comparison of the mean change score for unaware students between school group 1 and school group 2 showed that increases in overall cancer risk factor awareness in school group 1 were higher than the increases of unaware students seen in school group 2; however, no differences between the changes in attitudes towards cancer risk factors and cancer control intentions and behaviors between the school groups were observed. We conclude that the SJCECP curriculum is successful in promoting cancer risk factor awareness, positive attitudes towards cancer risk factors, and increased cancer control intentions and behaviors among students at the fourth-grade level regardless of school demographics.


Cancer Education K-12 Cancer Awareness Cancer Behavior Intentions School Based Program 



We thank the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital International Outreach Program.

Funding information

This study was funded by the American Lebanese and Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC) of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

This study was reviewed and approved by the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Research and therefore was performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All classroom teachers and parents of students gave their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Ayers
    • 1
    Email author
  • James Klosky
    • 2
  • Zhenghong Li
    • 1
  • Aubrey Van Kirk Villalobos
    • 3
  1. 1.St. Jude Children’s Research HospitalMemphisUSA
  2. 2.Emory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.George Washington Cancer InstituteWashingtonUSA

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