Perspectives on behavioral and social science research on cancer screening


  • William Rakowski Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Community Health and Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
    • Department of Community Health and Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, P.O. Box G-H1, Brown University, Providence, RI
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    • Fax: (401) 863-3713

  • Erica S. Breslau Ph.D.

    1. Applied Cancer Screening Research Branch, Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland
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  • This article is a U.S. government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.


The first section in the current article offered several themes that characterize behavioral and social science cancer screening research to date and are likely to be relevant for studying the adoption and utilization of future screening technologies. The themes discussed included the link between epidemiologic surveillance and the priorities of intervention, the “at-risk” perspective that often guides research on screening and initiatives to redress disparities, the need to monitor the diversification of personal screening histories, the range of intervention groups and study designs that can be tested, the importance of including key questions in population-level surveys and national health objectives, and the desirability of clarifying the characteristics of cancer screening that make it an attractive field of study in its own right. The second section commented on emerging areas in which more research will allow additional lessons to be learned. The other articles in the current supplement presented many more lessons in a variety of areas, and other authors are encouraged to write similar articles that help to identify general themes characterizing cancer screening research. Cancer 2004. Published 2004 by the American Cancer Society.